Hyderabad: Mohammad Azharuddin was caught on the wrong foot on Saturday morning by the Returning Officer K Rajeev Reddy, who said that the former Indian skipper was not eligible for the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) elections.
Azharuddin, who had filed his nomination for the president’s post, was stumped when he found his name missing from the list of nominations for January 17th election. One word remark – “rejected” – had Azharuddin fuming and hurt. “I was confident that my candidature will be accepted as there is no ground for the rejection. I am surprised, shocked and disappointed. It is very unfortunate,” he said.
Reddy, who kept the contestants waiting for two full days before pasting the list of contestants on the wall at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium at 6 am on Saturday morning, said that one of the reasons for rejection of Azharuddin’s candidature was the lack of clarity over the lifting of the life ban imposed on him by the Indian cricket board (BCCI) for his alleged involvement in a match-fixing case.
“There are several reasons for the rejection. He had given me some high court order of 2012 but I was not satisfied whether the BCCI ban is lifted or not. I had written to the BCCI but they have not given any confirmation. Hence, I had no option but to reject. Another reason is that he is not a registered voter in the HCA. He did not come and enroll his name in time,” said Reddy.
But Azharuddin did not accept Reddy’s decision. “When I went to file my nomination, I told the RO that I was filing my candidature as a former international player. He, however, refused to give me the nomination paper. He said that I had to contest on behalf of a club. That’s why I had to file my nomination on behalf of the National Cricket Club,” he added.
When asked whether match-fixing case was haunting him, a furious Azhar said he can’t wait forever as the High Court had aside the case way back in 2012 and the BCCI did not appeal to Supreme Court. “I have the greatest respect for the board but this is not the way to treat a former player. Post the HC order, I had written to the board on the issue but unfortunately nothing has been done about it. I want to get on with life.
“It is believed that if a court order is not contested within 90 days, then the order is deemed implemented. By that count, the ban is no longer valid.”
The 53-year-old further added that the whole election process was a fraud. “Things are not being properly dealt with. Everything is being manipulated to benefit a few individuals. The RO has extended the withdrawal date and failed to stick to the given schedule. This is never done in any election.”
According to Azharuddin, the election was called in such a hurried manner that most of the members didn’t have time to sort out issues. “I had given the RO all the documents relating to the court case. Today (Saturday) the RO is not available to answer our queries. I wanted to know the reasons for my rejection. I also questioned how he could clear the nomination of G Vivek, who is an advisor – in the rank of a cabinet minister – to the Telangana State government.”
Apart from Azharuddin, many others names were missing in the list even as the G Vivekanand’s group found most of their names cleared for the Ranga Reddy district-ordered elections. In the two-way contest for president, G Vivekanand, former MP, faces Vidyut Jaisimha in the contest. Interestingly, T Shesh Narayan’s was the lone name for the secretary’s post among the 34 nominees who filed for the post that was cleared.
K John Manoj, secretary, HCA lambasted the RO saying the scrutiny of nominations has not been done according to proper procedures.
“The Returning Officer has not stuck to the schedule he gave. He has neither followed the HCA rules nor the Lodha panel recommendations. When I questioned him about the lapses, he had no answer.”
He also said that the voter’s list too hasn’t been put up. “The first step in the election process is to have the voter’s list. We have 216 clubs but we have come to know that around 240 names have been given. Who are these extra members?”