Political heavyweight Ashish Shelar has formally thrown his hat into the ring for returning as the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) president. While Shelar filed his nomination papers on Monday, the last day of filing nominations for the October 20 election, along with a spree of political leaders across parties, the voters were left confused.
While Shelar’s faction claimed to have formed an alliance with the former Sharad Pawar Group, the erstwhile Sharad Pawar Group rebranded itself as Mumbai Cricket Group and reaffirmed its stand of contesting the election with former India allrounder and coach Sandeep Patil as the candidate for the president’s post.
The candidature of Shelar - who was the president for two years from 2016 - and his alliance with Pawar was expected with the veteran leader and administrator having been nominated as a representative of a club owned by Shelar.
According to a list released by Milind Narvekar, a close aide of former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, besides Shelar, the Shelar-Pawar Group includes political leaders across parties. Besides Shelar, one of the influential leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party, incumbent vice-president Amol Kale, an ally of Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, has again filed his papers for the same post.
While Narvekar (erstwhile Shiv Sena) and Jitendra Awhad (former minister and a senior leader of Nationalist Congress Party) have submitted their nomination form for the apex council members’ posts.
Interestingly, Ajinkya Naik and Gaurav Payyade are the common names in the list for the Shelar-Pawar Group and the Mumbai Cricket Group. While the Mumbai cricket fraternity was abuzz with the possible pull-out of the erstwhile Pawar Group, Patil reassured the voters that he and his group will contest the election.
“Me and my group will strive to close the widening communication gap between the association and the clubs. Our group will prioritise the requirements of the clubs and rectify the mistakes of the past,” Patil told a group voters’ meet at Matunga Gymkhana on Monday evening.
“I am proud to be leading a group of candidates who are desperate to resolve problems ailing Mumbai cricket and striving for improvement of Mumbai cricket. If you elect us, I assure you that we will try our best to resolve all the impending issues around Mumbai cricket administration.”
While the list of valid nominations after scrutiny will be officially announced on Tuesday, the deadline for withdrawal of nominations is 5 p.m. on Friday (October 14).