Pawar set to head MCA as Munde's appeal rejected

Last Updated 17 October 2013, 09:07 IST

Sharad Pawar is all set to be elected unopposed as the Mumbai Cricket Association President after BJP leader Gopinath Munde's appeal against the rejection of his application to contest for the top post at tomorrow's polls was turned down today.

The former Maharashtra deputy chief minister, whose application to contest the polls was rejected by the election officer on the basis of his residential status, had appealed against the verdict but that too was rejected, said outgoing MCA chief Ravi Savant here today.

Munde's application was rejected by the election officer on Saturday as the address on his electoral registration was Beed after which he filed an appeal which has now been turned down.

According to MCA rules, only a Mumbai resident can become a governing member of the cricketing body.

Explaining the rationale behind the rejection of Munde's appeal, Savant said that as per a Bombay High Court order of 2006, a person could have residences in different cities, but he is considered to be a permanent resident of only that place where his name appears on the electoral rolls.

"Mr Munde had filed an appeal with which he had attached various documents to show that he has a residence in Mumbai. But that only indicates he has got a residence in Mumbai. But the rule says he has got to be a resident of Mumbai.

Whatever was shown to us did indicate he has got a permanent residence in Mumbai.
"(But) Bombay High Court has answered in 2006 that a person can be taken safely as permanent resident where he is listed in the voters list. I may have two places (of residence) but to be a permanent resident of one place the criteria is the voters' list," Savant said.

Savant stated that post the development, Union Agriculture Minister Pawar is the lone candidate for the MCA presidentship and is all set to be elected unopposed at the biennial polls.

"There were two candidates after the last date of withdrawal. Therefore, you can safely say Sharad Pawar is the only candidate left now, so he is unopposed," he said. Munde had yesterday said the same rule is applicable to Sharad Pawar, whose documents in Lok Sabha show that he is a resident of Baramati.

However, Savant said Pawar had submitted a letter with the voters' list to the Association in June, indicating his change of address.

"Sharad Pawar's record that we have as on June 2013, we got a letter on June 6, 2013, which said he has shifted his permanent residence to Mumbai. His name is in the voter list and he had submitted that proof to us. When he filled the form, he was a permanent resident of Mumbai," said Savant.

Munde's disqualification today has paved the way for Pawar to formally return as MCA's head after a two-year gap.

Pawar had headed the association for close to a decade from 2001-02 to 2010-11 before he was succeeded by the late Vilasrao Deshmukh, another former Maharashtra Chief Minister.

Munde had told reporters yesterday that he would move the High Court if he is not given "natural justice" over his appeal when he came to MCA office, along with his lawyer, to appeal against the rejection of his candidature.

He also cited a bye-law by which only another candidate can raise an objection against other candidate.

"I filed my nomination for the presidentship of MCA. But it was cancelled by the election officer. I appealed before the president of MCA. He heard my appeal. I hope that he will give me justice," Munde said. Munde's contention was that as per a bye-law of the association, only a candidate at the election can object against nomination of other candidates and in his case the objection had been raised by a Vile Parle Club representative, who is not a candidate at the polls.

"There is a bye-law rule number 6 which says that nobody can take any objection to a candidate. Only candidates take objection against other candidates.

"The person who has taken objection against me, he was a Mr Singhvi from Vile Parle Club. He has no legal right to object to my candidature. The election officers have no right to listen to him. After it happened, my application was rejected," he said.
Munde also described the rejection of his candidature as a conspiracy against him and hit out at Pawar.

"This is a conspiracy against me. I am fighting for justice. There is a monopoly of Mr Sharad Pawar in MCA. I want to fight against this monopoly and I feel that the president should give me justice. If he does not give, I will go to Mumbai High Court," said the BJP leader.

Munde's lawyer Nitin Pradhan also claimed it was a stage-managed objection.
"It appears to be a stage-managed objection. There was no question of Mr Singhvi attending the scrutiny. No notice was given to candidates, but how was the voter given the notice and how he was allowed to remain present during the scrutiny of nomination. There was no transparency," he said.

(Published 17 October 2013, 08:59 IST)

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