Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Rajat Sharma panel sweeps DDCA polls; retention of RTI clause in doubt : By Neeru Bhatia

THE WEEK: National: Tuesday, July 03, 2018.
Many of the newly elected members favour repealing of RTI Act
In what could be termed as a setback to C.K. Khanna, the acting president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the person who controlled votes under proxy system in the past, media personality Rajat Sharma and his panel swept the Delhi and District Cricket Association elections 12-0. The results were declared on Monday.
Sharma beat the panel headed by former all-rounder Madan Lal. Sharma secured the highest number of votes as presidential candidate with 54.4 per cent of votes cast in his favour. He polled 1,521 votes as against Madan Lal who got 1,004 votes. The latter was backed by Khanna whose wife Shashi, too, was in the fray for the vice president's seat. The third candidate in the race, senior Advocate Vikas Singh, got 232 votes.
Soon after taking charge, Sharma told media that he would ensure transparency in functioning of the scam-ridden DDCA, but gave no assurances on whether his committee will retain the RTI clause included in the constitution by Justice Sen before elections took place. Fears of the RTI clause being repealed surfaced after many of the newly elected members said that they were going to press for its repealing. DDCA had become the first state cricket association to adopt the RTI Act.
“Let me discuss this; let me first have a meeting of the executive; we will discuss and let you know,” was Sharma's response when specifically asked about DDCA's RTI compliance under the newly elected team.
The victory of Sharma panel, which had the tacit support of the Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party and blessings of former DDCA president Arun Jaitley, led to loud celebrations and chaos inside the premises even as the rival camps questioned the manner in which counting of votes was conducted. Sharma was backed by some of those DDCA members who have been accused by former India players Bishan Bedi and Kirti Azad of maladministration and mismanagement of funds.  
Immediately after the declaration of results, the  victorious panel went to pay a courtesy call on Jaitley. In the evening, the Delhi High Court-appointed administrator Justice Vikramjit Sen handed over the charge to Sharma and his team, giving him account statements, manuals passed in the AGM, declaration of external forensic audit report, key of cupboards and cabins and minutes of the AGM.
“I see this as victory of a democratic system direct voting over proxy system. We see this as a victory for change. I don't want to go into past. We will start on a clean state,” said Sharma.
The elections were held as per the Justice R.M. Lodha committee reforms. Seven of those elected in Sharma panel are family members of former DDCA executive committee members or board of directors.
Speaking to media, Sharma said, “I would like to thank all DDCA members who stood by me and supported me for such a resounding victory. Our agendas are: how happy we can make members of DDCA, give  them better facilities when they come to watch cricket and spend an evening here. My commitment to players is that there will be absolute transparency, no favouritism; absolutely on merit. We need more Kohlis, Gambhirs, Dhawans, Sehwags and Pants. DDCA has a glorious past given a wonderful past. It's our time to give back to them.” He promised transparent selections an issue which has in the past tarnished the image of DDCA and harmed Delhi cricket.
"I will give as much time as required to DDCA. I am very committed,”  he assured when asked how he would manage this responsibility along with his other commitments.
Sharma had invited former India opener Gautam Gambhir to discuss a few things with him in the evening. Gambhir is a government observor and openly supported the Sharma panel. There are reports that Sharma will announce formation of a cricket committee which will have the likes of Gambhir and former Delhi skipper Mithun Manhas. He is likely to announce formation of two key committees on Tuesday.