Infighting in Rajasthan Cricket Association touches new low

   By Satish Mishra ,  17-Oct-2018
Infighting in Rajasthan Cricket Association touches new low

With Lalit Modi Group stumping Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) president and Congress heavyweight, CP Joshi, a new era has started in the state. Joshi had completed an year & half in office as the RCA president before his forced exit from apex cricket body in state. He has been removed from the coveted post and the entire working committee is dissolved. Fresh elections to re-elect the office bearers of RCA will now have to be conducted within 3 months. An 8 member ad hoc committee, formed under the Rajasthan Sports Act, has been put in place to oversee the cricketing body’s day-to-day work. The committee will be headed by Vinod Saharan and will have four members from both factions. Recently office bearers of 16 districts had filed a complaint citing inefficiency on part of Joshi to carry out the responsibility. There are 33 cricketing districts affiliated with the RCA that determine the fate of the office bearers who run the cricketing body in Rajasthan.

Mr Joshi was found flouting the Sports Act that demands a president to conduct domestic tournament, he also failed to carry out the annual audit mandatory for the books of the Association. This triggered the rebellion. Official complaint was filed around two months back by these districts. A person who revolutionized RCA is already out of country, hence Mr. Joshi started his old tricks of maneuvering the units in his favour. It backfired and he had to pay the price with chair.   This is not the first time that RCA has courted trouble. The association has had a tumultuous history replete with such incidents where both the parties have challenged each other in a bid to usurp power. After Mr. Modi’s relocation, Mr. Joshi also resisted growth of Mr. Lalit’s son Ruchir Modi. When in 2017 fresh elections on the lines of Supreme Court approved Lodha Panel Recommendations were held, the cricket fraternity was hopeful of the game getting kick-started in the state. Moreover, it was during IPL 2018 that the BCCI even lifted the longstanding ban on RCA and brought it back into its fold, but things remained dicey.

Again, with the start of domestic season 2018-19, an ad hoc committee was put in place to run the cricket affairs due to the ongoing battle of supremacy between the two factions. Result: In last one decade when sustained effort of Mr. Lalit Modi had brought Rajasthan to the Top twice has fallen to the bottom even as the judiciary-run state body, with the shadow of Lalit Modi still looming large, is riven by divisions. Ouster of Mr. Modi has pushed a once-flourishing Rajasthan cricket into disarray, rendering it almost dysfunctional. The current state of affairs is a far cry from the time Rajasthan cricket was in the ascendancy, capped by Ranji trophy titles in successive seasons (2010, 2011). Now, the faction-ridden Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) is struggling to hold even district-level selection tournaments. Although the RCA was one of the first state associations to comply with recommendations from the controversial Supreme Court-appointed Lodha committee, it is now marred by infighting, blatant government intervention, and litigation including criminal cases. It is more or less entirely run by retired judges.

“We are not playing cricket on the field but in the courts,” R.S. Nandu, secretary, RCA, said. “Every day there is a hearing in one matter or the other.” The judicial intervention has taken over nearly all aspects of the cricket body’s functioning. Such is the factionalism in the RCA, that two retired high court judges have been appointed as arbitrators to resolve matters, while there are several petitions involving the association being heard in the Rajasthan High Court. The rift is between two factions — one owing allegiance to current RCA president, Congress leader C.P. Joshi, and the other his predecessor, former IPL commissioner and one-time BCCI vice-president Lalit Modi. Modi lost control of the RCA in the 2017 elections, which was allegedly rigged by a rival.