BCA elections: 60 former Ranji players pledge support to Samarjitsinh Gaekwad

Two days after the panel of former cricketers backing current President of the Baroda Cricket Association (BCA) Chirayu Amin released its manifesto ahead of the elections, 60 former Ranji players pledged their support to Samarjitsinh Gaekwad in a show of strength on Tuesday.

Vadodara's royal scion and the current vice-president, Samarjitsinh, who is contesting against Amin, said it was for the first time in the history of BCA elections that a Presidential candidate had got support from 60 "fellow cricketers". Some land deals made by the BCA under the leadership of Amin have become a major contention for the upcoming elections.

At a gathering organised to show strength, Samarjitsinh was flanked by former cricketers, led by C R Mohite, Mehendi Shaikh, Rakesh Patel, Connor Williams, Amey Palkar, Jacob Martin and Atul Bedade. While the cricketers questioned the motive of ex-cricketers supporting Amin and rechristening their group as "Revival BCA", Samarjitsinh clarified that he had asked all former cricketers, now supporting Amin, to join in "pro-active development of Baroda cricket". On Sunday, while launching themselves as "Revival BCA", former cricketers Anshuman Gaekwad, Kiran More, Narayan Satham and Nayan Mongia had said that they had first approached Samarjitsinh for help to improve Baroda cricket, but the latter not responded positively. Samarjitsinh said, "I had asked them to be part of the proactive development, but they changed sides and they are accusing me of dividing cricketers. If I get elected, I would invite all former cricketers who are not members of the BCA to come forward and take memberships. I am a former cricketer and I know how difficult their lives are. This is the least I can do as a mark of respect to them." Samarjitsinh said that he decided to contest the BCA polls because Amin's leadership lacked direction and he had not time for the association. "There is also mismanagement in the form of land deals and the association is in need of a leader. I think I can do a far better job," Samarjitsinh said. Taking a dig at the manifesto released by the Amin camp, Samarjitsinh said that it was a photocopy of the 2002 manifesto. "They should explain why all this development did not happen in the last ten years. What have they done all this while? For the last 26 years, the members were not served any dinners, why now?" he said.

BCA secretary Sanjay Patel said that some wrong decisions had been taken regarding the purchase of lands for the purpose of building a cricket stadium, but he was absent during the signing of the MoUs with the parties. When asked about sharing the onus of the dubious land deals, Patel said, "I was there when the deal was done, but not when the MoU was signed." Patel refuted allegations of the "revival BCA" group that he interfered in the workings of former cricketers at the BCA.

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