Backed by Sharad Pawar, Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh on Friday pipped former India skipper Dilip Vengsarkar in a fiercely-fought contest to become the new president of the Mumbai Cricket Association.
Deshmukh defeated Vengsarkar by 181 to 136 votes to emerge triumphant in the biennial elections. Both Deshmukh and Vengsarkar were vice-presidents in the outgoing committee, headed by Pawar.
Pawar had become ineligible to contest the polls as per a clause in the MCA's constitution following a change of his permanent residence status from Mumbai to Baramati.
Pawar's panel members -- Prof Ratnakar Shetty and Ravi Savant -- were elected vice-president and treasurer respectively, while D Y Patil Sports Academy's chairman Vijay Patil, who contested as an independent, became the other vice-president.
Two other members of the Pawar panel -- Dr P V Shetty and Nitin Dalal -- also emerged victorious to become the two new joint-secretaries.
Deshmukh, a former Maharashtra chief minister, followed in the footsteps of Manohar Joshi (1992-2001) and Pawar (2001-2011), to become the 13th MCA president since it was founded in 1930-31.
Like another former India captain before him, Ajit Wadekar, who lost to Pawar, ex-chief selector Vengsarkar was unable to snap the stranglehold of politicians in the MCA.
Despite some hectic lobbying over the last few days, and support extended by former India skipper Kapil Dev, in the run-up to the elections, Vengsarkar failed to buck the near-two-decade trend.
The ex-chief selector had formed a panel with some of his erstwhile India and Mumbai teammates -- Karsan Ghavri, Balwinder Sandhu and Chandrakant Pandit -- who contested the polls for 11 managing committee posts.