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Batra in poll fray
May 22, 2005 19:51 IST
With Indian Hockey Federation senior vice-president and leader of the anti-K P S Gill camp Narinder Batra announcing his candidature for the two top posts, the battlelines were drawn for the IHF elections to be held in Kolkata on Monday.
"I will put forth my nomination for the posts of both president and secretary-general," Batra said on Sunday.
Batra said he had decided to enter the fray as a show of protest against the way incumbent president Gill and secretary K Jothikumaran had been continuing in office 'term after term flouting all rules'.
"There will be a close contest, and they will face a tough challenge," he said.
Meanwhile, a source close to Gill said that the former Punjab Police Director General would seek another term as president in tomorrow's elections.
"He will contest as a nominee of Himachal Pradesh," the source said.
Batra said he is confident of clinching victory in either of the posts.
Asked why had he thrown his hat in the ring for both the top slots, Batra said, "on earlier occasions, I've been badly let down by people who initially agreed to contest, but developed cold feet at the last moment. This time I do not want Gill and Jothikumaran to win by default. So I will myself stand against them.
"Unlike what was done by some others in the past, I'm not going to opt out of the fray at the last minute," Batra, who will attend the AGM as a representative of Jammu and Kashmir, said.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that Jothikumaran is likely to try his luck for the secretary general's post again this time, though there has been no official confirmation.
Batra, who was on his way to the city, said he would hold discussions with his associates on reaching Kolkata tonight.
"I'll review my decision to contest on the floor of the house only if there are suitable candidates ready to take on the current president and secretary-general," he said.
Batra said he would be in a position to say whether candidates can be put up for the other posts -- treasurer, eight vice-presidents and five joint secretaries -- after consulting with his supporters.
Meanwhile, the Golden Park hotel, the venue of the AGM, has turned into a hotbed of activity with the Gill camp holding marathon strategy sessions since last night.
A source in the pro-Gill camp, however, claimed that things would be "sorted out" before the AGM begins tomorrow morning.
"Elections are unlikely. Gill and Jothikumran have done a lot for hockey. And all the members have faith in them," he said.