Former India cricket captain Mohammed Azharuddin's bid to unseat Badminton Association of India's long-standing president V K Verma received a setback on Friday after an Andhra Pradesh court refused to grant a stay on BAI's election in Chennai on Sunday.
The Azharuddin camp had approached the sessions court in Andhra Pradesh's Rangareddy district seeking a stay on the election, but their plea was rejected after arguments lasting three hours.
A jubilant Verma hailed the court order and said it cleared the deck for his "unanimous election".
"The Azharuddin-camp saw the writing on the wall and sought this stay order as a last-minute gamble. We had already taken a caveat not only in Andhra Pradesh but also in Chennai and we are happy with the verdict.
"All the delegates coming from across the country for Sunday's election are elated and set to elect me unanimously again," Verma declared.
Earlier, talking to reporters in Chennai, the BAI chief said his victory would be mere a formality even though Azhar is welcome to contest the election.
This was a change in stance of the BAI president, who initially had questioned Azhar's eligibility to contest the election since the former cricketer was not member of any state unit and is also fighting a life-ban on match-fixing charges.
"Azharuddin is welcome to contest, or, for that matter, anyone. The BAI Constitution provides for persons other than those from affiliated units to contest for the posts of president and secretary," said Verma, who is the helm of the BAI for 12 years.
He said he has the backing of nearly all the 34 voting units and his victory is inevitable.
Verma stuck to his decision to seek re-election even though it is in violation of the recent Sports Ministry's regulation that fixed the term of federation presidents to 12 years at the most.
"The government guidelines come into play if you are seeking its financial assistance from it," Verma said, claiming the BAI is now self-sufficient.
"We have signed contracts with various sponsors to generate Rs four crore annually. So we will not be requiring any financial assistance from the government," he said.