CHENNAI: There seems to be a three-way contest for theIndian Olympic Association
(IOA) president’s post. While current presidentN Ramachandran
is going to fight the polls in the Annual General Meeting on December 14, IOA secretary Rajeev Mehta-led rival faction initially hadNarinder Batra
in mind. But Batra may be ineligible to contest and in that case the group, which also includes former secretaries Lalit Bhanot andRandhir Singh
, may go for Indian Weightlifting Federation presidentBirendra Prasad Baishya
as their candidate.
In another interesting development, former IOA president Abhay Singh Chautala threw his hat into the ring and is planning to project Anil Khanna, the current treasurer, for the president’s post.
Members of all the groups will be present in the executive council meeting of the IOA in Chennai on Thursday and it is expected to be a platform where the bosses will test waters before the final showdown. It was told that 24 of the 27 EC members will attend the meeting, one of the notable absentees being Himachal Olympic Association president Anurag Thakur, who is busy with assembly election campaign in his own state.
“For now, it seems the Mehta camp will go with Baishya as the presidential candidate. They don’t have the numbers to amend the constitution and the Ramachandran group is hell bent not to allow the amendment,” a source close to the development told TOI.
Baishya has the backing of Bhanot, who is masterminding the campaign against Ramachandran. But the Ramachandran camp insists that Bhanot is “scam tainted” and his group won’t be able to manage votes to claim majority.
“Bhanot’s candidate will never get full support. The members are getting used to a clean IOA and they will be sceptical to allow a candidate backed by scam-tainted man to rule the national federation,” the source added.
AGM venue shift proposal to be challenged by Ramachandran group:
In the EC meeting on Thursday, the Ramachandran group will challenge the AGM venue shift proposal mooted by the Mehta-Bhanot faction. According to sources close to the Ramachandran camp, they are dead against the move.