By Qaiser Mohammad Ali
New Delhi, Nov 4 (IANS) Even though Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh have put their weight behind a candidate of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) treasurer’s post, increasing number of Covid-19 cases and pollution levels are likely to dissuade a majority of the 4,270 DDCA members from casting their votes in polling from Thursday to Sunday.
Elections for a total of six posts are being held. The post of the president has been filled with Rohan Jaitley, son of late union minister Arun Jaitley, being unanimously elected by both major groups.
The rivals groups, however, failed to come to a consensus over the other five posts, thus forcing contests. These are of the treasurer and four directors who will be part of the DDCA apex council.
These are mini elections as the directors have retired by rotation while the post of president fell vacant after Rajat Sharma resigned and the previous treasurer had to leave as he is a sitting member of Delhi legislative assembly. The new Supreme Court-approved constitution bars public servants and ministers from holding posts of cricket administrators.
“This is a low profile election as no big names are involved. The other big factors could be the increasing number of Covid cases and pollution, which could keep the older DDCA members away from the polling. Out of 4,270 members, I would think that not more than 1,500 would turn up physically to vote over the next four days,” a senior DDCA member told IANS on the evening of first day polling.
The candidates, and their backers, have been reluctant in spending money on posters and banners.
“Those who are contesting are the proxies of the stalwarts who are not in the fray this time around. Since the big men are not contesting, they have been very conservative in splurging money on their backed-up candidates, and that is why you don’t see any posters or banners in the city, unlike the 2018 full-fledged elections,” he said.
The few ways of canvassing have been organising parties and making telephone calls. In a few rare cases, candidates have gone out to their homes to meet potential voters. One group organised a party for DDCA members — or potential voters — in a five-star hotel near Connaught Place while the other group organised several area-wise gatherings for their supporters.
Yuvraj and Harbhajan have supported Pawan Gulati, a maternal uncle of their former India teammate Gautam Gambhir. Gulati is up against Shashi Khanna, wife of CK Khanna, a former acting president of the Indian cricket board and DDCA.
Yuvraj, who belongs to Punjab, has called Gulati a “genuine person” in a special message to voters.
“I have known Gautam and his family for over 20 years and they have always been warm and kind to everyone. I have met his uncle, Mr pawan Gulati, and on several occasions and he came across as a most genuine person, seasoned, insightful and well educated. I have no doubt that he will do a splendid job as treasurer of DDCA. If we need better administration of cicket and welfare of our young players, such people need to be supported,” he wrote.
Harbhajan, who also represented Punjab, also said that he had known the Gambhir family for many years.
“On occasions, I have had the chance to interact with his uncle, Mr Gulati. His intellect and understanding of the game are extraordinary. We need proficient and learned people in administration of cricket to improve our associations. I have no doubt that he is the right person for the post of treasurer. I support him and urge that you do as well,” wrote the former off-spinner of repute.
Six polling booths have been made for DDCA members to cast votes at the Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium. The 4,270 members have been almost equally divided and numbered for each booth.