The Suresh Kalmadi group has been heading the Indian Olympic Association since 1996. As the IOA is going to the polls, it appears that the scenario will be unchanged.
IOA’s executive board met in the capital on Monday to get the election process rolling. From the proceedings of the meeting, the general feeling is that Abhay Singh Chautala, from the Kalmadi group, could take on the IOA mantle.
Chautala’s task had been made easier by the Indian Boxing Federation’s (IBF) executive body on Sunday. Having served the association for three terms as president, he was nominated as its first-ever chairman. “If IOA members have faith in me and asked me to run for the president’s post, how can I say no?”
This paper has reliably learnt that Kalmadi’s most-trusted lieutenant, Lalit Bhanot, has also been finalised to vie for the secretary general’s post. This has rattled the rival camp of Randhir Singh, secretary general since 1987. He had been banking on the sports ministry’s diktats to prevent Kalmadi from contesting.
Meanwhile, a senior sports ministry official told DNA that the IOA has no option but to adhere to the Delhi High Court’s directives on age and tenure. The Randhir camp, too, want the election to be fought as per the National Sports Development Code (NSDC). However, they have little support when it comes to voting.
It was Singh who accused IOA’s acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra of delaying the elections. October 10 is the cut-off date, when IOA’s office-bearers complete their four-year term. It has emerged that Singh, in a certain meeting, had even asked Malhotra as to who would run the show for a month-and-a-half after office bearers complete their tenure.
The Randhir group has not zeroed in on any candidate to contest for the secretary general’s post, though the All-India Tennis Association’s president Anil Khanna’s name is doing the rounds.