The Congress will hold division-wise meetings from Thursday to decide the possible candidates for the Assembly elections and finalise the seats to be contested by the party. It will also hold a meeting in Navi Mumbai to take stock of the Konkan division. “I will visit each and every division of Maharashtra to understand the party’s strength on the ground,” State Congress president Balasaheb Thorat said. The party has received over 900 applications seeking candidature for the polls, which Mr. Thorat said is a positive sign. “Not every election is the same. We lost the Lok Sabha election, but we are confident of making a comeback exactly as we did in 1980. The people still trust us and the growing number of applications seeking a party ticket is an indication of that,” he said.The Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) held deliberations on seat sharing for two consecutive days. “We are confident about contesting the polls together. We also want all secular and progressive forces in the State to join us,” Mr. Thorat said. When asked if the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) leader Prakash Ambedkar would be a part of the seat-sharing discussions, Mr. Thorat said the Congress is always ready for talks. “We have informed the VBA that we want to hold talks and I am confident we will soon be doing so,” the State Congress chief said. Last month, the VBA had ridiculed the Congress, and had made an offer of 40 of the 288 Assembly seats in the State to the Congress. The Congress had termed the offer non-serious. Meanwhile, the Congress and NCP leaders said the alliance talks will continue for some time to sort out certain issues and chalk out a strategy to accommodate all the allies.
As the annual general body meeting of the Indian cricket board draws closer, the list of aspiring candidates for some of the top posts seems to be growing longer. And contrary to belief that all the posts would be filled by consensus, elections may still take place.A virtual who’s who of the affiliated units of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has suddenly got “interested” in the various posts up for grabs as N Srinivasan assumes president’s post next week.On Friday, a “crucial” meeting of all the top Board officials took place in Mumbai and the claims of the candidates are believed to have been discussed threadbare.”All the big guns met here in Mumbai and a majority of decisions are believed to have been taken. But some more discussions were likely to happen tommorrow too,” a source told Mail Today. Of all the positions available, only Rajeev Shukla, presently a vice-president from central zone, looks a certainty for the chairmanship of the Indian Premier League (IPL) governing council. The council is now reconstituted at the AGM to give more control to the BCCI, particularly the secretary, over the lucrative twenty20 tournament.A majority of the other BCCI posts – five vice-presidents, one secretary, one joint secretary, one treasurer, and the men’s and women’s national selection panels, besides various sub committees, would be re-jigged.The most coveted of posts that are vacant is that of secretary. Among the prominent names being floated around are incumbent joint secretary Sanjay Jagdale, current treasurer MP Pandove, and Orissa Cricket Association president Ranjib Biswal.advertisement”Jagdale, a former first-class player, has the advantage of a clean image while Pandove is a seasoned cricket administrator and is also non-controversial. Biswal, a former India under-19 and Orissa captain, is very close to Srinivasan and he looks to be the frontrunner as of now,” said a source “Shukla was also offered the post of secretary, but he had politely declined citing his responsibilities as minister for parliamentary affairs,” he said.”He wanted a less hectic portfolio and the chairmanship of the IPL governing council suits him fine as he would be an ideal link between the Board and the government, especially after a lot of tax-related issues with the IPL.” For the treasurer’s post, sources say, at least three people are in the fray.”Jyotiraditya Scindia, minister of state for commerce and industry and president of Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association, Maharashtra Cricket Association president Ajay Shirke, who’s considered to be very close to political heavyweight Sharad Pawar, and former BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah are interested parties,” they said.And for the joint secretary’s position, Anurag Thakur and Amitabh Choudhary are said to be in the race.