National Rifle Association of India president Raninder Singh has made an appeal to not politicise the federation's upcoming elections and said its constitution is not in conflict with the government's sports code and the IOC.
In the wake of accusations against Raninder of having rigged the process of nominating the four life and four annual members at the general assembly yesterday, the NRAI sought to clear the confusion a month ahead of the April 6 election.
“It is unbecoming to bring politics into sports, especially in a measurable sport like shooting. We will not allow NRAI to turn into a political akhara,” Raninder said on Tuesday.
Asked about the contentious sports code, he said, “We are not in conflict with either the IOC or government of India. We have already accepted almost all the provisions of the sports code. You can check the sports code and our by laws on our website,” he said.
“In fact, NRAI is only body that has changed its age and tenure bar, even before the London Olympics,” Raninder added.
He, however, added that sports code is only an “advisory” to all the national federations and not a “legal law” or an “ordinance”.
Athens Olympics silver medallist Rajyavardhan Rathore demanded that the four life and annual members, all of whom are handed voting rights, be elected rather than nominated by Raninder.
The NRAI president agreed to put Rathore's proposal to vote. However, Raninder retained his right to nominate these members after getting the backing of the general assembly with 523 to 317 votes.
“Out of 948 registered voters, 843 ballots were cast yesterday.”
Raninder said that Monday's election process was videographed.
Raninder also said that he was being appointed the returning officer for yesterday's general assembly as per the NRAI constitution.
“Whoever is the incumbent is the returning officer according to the constitution since the last 40 years,” he said.
“The governing body met on February 22 and mandated me to be the returning officer and conduct the election of nominating the life and annual members.”
But the resolution was challenged by a section of life members, following which a voting -- on whether the president should be given the powers to nominate the members of his choice or they should be chosen through an electoral procedure -- was done.
In the voting, of the 842 valid votes, 513 life members voted in favour of giving Raninder the power to nominate the four representatives, while 329 voted against it.
For the annual members too, of the 28 votes, 24 were cast in favour of giving Raninder the power to nominate the four representatives.
The NRAI, meanwhile, released the 109-member list of electoral college and representatives for the April 6 general body meeting.
“Keeping in view the sentiments of all concerned, I insisted to go for a secret ballot vote, and not show of hands. And yesterday's voting is on camera,” Raninder said.
The election will be held in Faridabad, right next to the shooting range.
Asked if the federation plans to take any legal action against Rathore for speaking against the federation's process of conducting the election, Raninder said, “There is no course for action. He may not like me, that doesn't mean we have to take that into cognisance. We will remain circumspect, will only think about the sport.”
Photograph: Lars Baron/Getty Images