In a setback to former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin, his nomination for the post of president of the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) was rejected by the returning officer on Saturday.
Returning officer K. Rajeev Reddy cited the ban imposed on Azhar by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for his alleged involvement in match-fixing.
Azharuddin, however, said the returning officer had not given reasons for rejecting his nomination and demanded the same in writing.
"I am disappointed. This is a sorry state of affairs," the 53-year-old said.
The former batsman plans to approach the court next week to challenge the returning officer's action.
Azhar said he can't be prevented from contesting the HCA elections as the court had struck down the ban on him.
When reminded that the BCCI had not officially lifted its ban on him, Azhar said the board did not challenge the court order.
The former captain claimed that he had also given a representation to the BCCI.
"I respect the BCCI but these are things beyond my control. I had a rough time, but I don't want to blame anyone," he said.
Azhar said his sole intention in contesting the election was to contribute whatever he can to the promotion of the game but he was being prevented from doing this.
"You can't suppress me," he asserted and announced his plans to approach the court after the Sankranti holidays.
With Azhar's nomination being rejected, former Member of Parliament G. Vivek and Vidyuth Jaisimha, son of late former cricketer M.L. Jaisimha, remained in the fray for the president's post in the elections scheduled to be held on January 17.
Azhar wondered how Vivek's nomination was not rejected as he is an advisor to the Telangana government and holds the rank of a cabinet minister.
He pointed out that as per the Supreme Court, a government employee can't contest the elections.
Azhar was accompanied by former HCA president Arshad Ayub and HCA secretary John Manoj. They took strong exception to the returning officer's action in declaring A. Seshnarayan as being elected as the new secretary unopposed.
They alleged that this amounted to contempt of court as the Hyderabad High Court had directed that the results should not be declared till January 18, when the case will come up for final hearing.
Ayub, a former cricketer, had quit as HCA president in the wake of the recommendations of the Supreme Court appointed Lodha committee.
The rival group constituted an adhoc committee and approached the court seeking directions to hold the elections.
The lower court last month directed HCA to hold the elections to the apex council on January 17 and appointed advocate K. Rajeev Reddy as commissioner for conducting the elections.
Some of the office bearers of HCA had approached the Hyderabad High Court on the ground that the election process was not being conducted as per the recommendations of the Lodha committee and directions of the Supreme Court.
The High Court on January 11 refused to stay the elections. It, however, directed that the results should not be announced till further orders.
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