New ACA dispensation
The beleaguered Assam Cricket Association (ACA) has a new dispensation. Taking over as its president, State minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has promised transparency and efficiency in the ACA’s working. Given his reputation as a go-getter, Sarma may well deliver. But the entire process of selection, instead of election of new office bearers, smacks of dubious ‘understanding’, if not outright accommodation. The tainted duo of Gautam Roy and Bikash Baruah will continue to be associated with the ACA, the former as patron and the latter as ex-officio member of the governing body. This is the same Bikash Baruah who has been barred from contesting ACA elections on Gauhati High Court’s orders, which is hearing a case against him for not distributing cheques sent by the BCCI for benefit of cricketers. So Baruah continues to enjoy legitimacy in the new set-up, thanks to the incoming president’s discretiory powers. As for outgoing president Gautam Roy, he now has a deadline to complete the Barsapara cricket stadium by August next, after taking years over its construction. So with this retrograde step, it is ‘all’s well that ends well’ for ACA. In the past, the BCCI too exhibited such ‘understanding’, with politicians of different hues like Farooq Abdullah, Arun Jaitley, Rajiv Shukla and Sharad Pawar cohabiting happily. New BCCI chief Anurag Thakur recently spoke for all politicians, when he commented that ‘if politicians can run the country, they can run sports bodies also’. All this flies in the face of the Supreme Court’s insistence that the BCCI reform itself by implementing the Lodha panel’s report, which has recommended that politicians may remain in advisory capacity but should be barred from contesting as office bearers.