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Drama marks IHF elections
May 23, 2005 14:38 IST
Last Updated: May 23, 2005 20:42 IST
Amidst high drama, the Indian Hockey Federation completed its election on Monday, with a group of three dissidents, led by Narinder Batra, forcing the incumbent president K P S Gill face voting in his bid to retain power for a fourth consecutive term.
Gill was challenged for the presidential post by Batra, who also pitted himself against K Jothikumaran for the secretary-general's post.
Other than Batra, Jammu and Kashmir's Jagjit Singh and Gurdeep Singh of Universities joined the challenge to the official panel, resulting in elections for almost all the key posts.
Gill later claimed that the elections were held in a "friendly" atmosphere.
"We have completed the procedure of the elections," Gill told reporters.
He said the AGM had adopted a resolution amending the present constitution in a bid to ensure "free and fair" elections.
As per the directives of the Delhi high court, the result of the election cannot be announced and has to be kept in a sealed envelope till further orders from the court.
Earlier, as the AGM started, the first note of discontent was struck by Batra and his associates, who objected to Gill being nominated for the president's post as a representative of Himachal Pradesh.
The Batra lobby claimed that as per an HP government order, only residents of that state could represent sports bodies of HP at such meetings. The objection, however, was overruled.
Gill refused to discuss the issues raised in the AGM, which lasted seven hours.
"I am not going to discuss them with you or anybody," he said during the very brief interaction with the media after the AGM.
Four of the affiliate units -- Arunachal Pradesh, Services, Bhopal and Dhandigarh -- went unrepresented at the meeting as nobody from these units turned up.
Batra, a senior vice-president of the IHF, agreed that the elections were held "free and fair" but added that "winning or losing is not important" for him.
Flanked by Gurdeep and Jagjit, atra told newspersons that he had decided to contest because he felt that in a democratic set-up elections are a must.
"I contested as I felt that in a democracy elections should be held. In the end, I found a lot of people agreeing to my view points at the AGM," he added.
On whether he would now mend fences with Gill or continue to oppose him, Batra replied, "I will go by issues."
But he ruled out withdrawing the case in the Delhi high court.
"All in all, I am happy at the way the elections were conducted. They were held in a cordial atmosphere," he said.
Batra, who had announced his candidature for both the top slots on Sunday, raised objections at the last executive committee meeting of the outgoing Board, held minutes before the AGM, to some amendments being introduced in the guidelines for elections.
The guidelines made it mandatory for a candidate at the AGM to get a separate 'proposer' and a 'seconder'.
While Gill campers said that the amendment had to be introduced as the constitution was silent on the aspect, Batra's supporters claimed that the official panel wanted to prevent Batra from throwing his hat in to the ring by proposing his own name.
"But they were surprised when they found that there were others to propose and second his name," they said.
The AGM started at around 10-20 AM, in the presence of Indian Olympic Association-appointed observers Ashok Ghosh and Harish Sharma, and the elections started around noon.
Gill's supporters lodged a protest against Batra for nominating himself for the presidential election, following which Jammu and Kashmir Hockey Association secretary Jagjit Singh proposed Batra's name, which was seconded by Gurdip Singh.
Gill's name was proposed by Assam's Keshav Mahanta and seconded by Kehar Singh of the Mumbai Hockey Association.
After 80 per cent of the secret-ballot votes had been cast for the president's post, Batra, while casting his vote, objected to what he claimed to be the presence of some 'identification mark' beside Gill's name on the ballot paper.
On Batra's demand, a new set of ballot papers was brought to correct the anomaly and re-polling began.
A leading member of the Batra camp said even Gill found merit in the objection and remarked that the papers should be "thrown away and a new set brought in".
Batra again entered the fray in the next set of polls for the secretary-general's post against incumbent K Jothikumaran.
Later, asked whether he had problems with the secretary-general, Batra told the media, "Yes. There are issues on which I have differences of opinion with him."
In the elections to choose the eight vice-presidents, Gurdeep was fielded by the Batra camp.
The eight nominees in the official panel were C P G Unni (Madhya Pradesh), Dinesh Bajpai (Bengal), K Mahanta (Assam), P Satpathy (Orissa), Aslam Khan (Uttar Pradesh), Umesh Kumar (Hyderabad), Dilbagh Singh (Mumbai) and Ejaz Hossain (Bihar).
Jagjit Singh then entered the fray during the joint-secretary elections to throw a challenge to the Gill faction, which nominated S P Dass, Ram Chandra Rao and Charanjit Singh for the three slots.
Jagjit and Gurdeep also contested the polls for the eight-member executive committee to prevent any consensus.
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