IOA elections likely to be one-sided

With each passing day, the first Indian Olympics Association (IOA) election in the post-Suresh Kalmadi era seems more and more a one-sided affair. Friday was the last day for the filing of nominations but the contest for the top post at IOA is expected to be between Abhey Singh Chautala and Randhir Singh. However, the tide seems to be turning firmly in favour of the former with several defections from the Randhir Singh camp.

On Friday, Randhir's trusted aide Anil Khanna, the All-India Tennis Association chief and a candidate for the treasurer's post, withdrew and switched over to the Chautala bandwagon.

He was not an exception. In the last few days, a few others, including Durga Das Boro (chief of India's fencing federation) and Taekwaondo Federation of India chief Harish Kumar have changed allegiance and joined Chautala.

Chautala, meanwhile, formally handed over the nomination papers at the Defence Colony residence of Justice (Retd) VK Bali, who is the returning officer for the November 25 polls. Fifty five members have proposed his name and a similar number seconded the proposal.

"I have 110 votes in my pocket," he told The Indian Express after filing for his candidacy, saying he expected more votes.

Interestingly, Lalit Bhanot, whose candidature was questioned after International Olympic Committee's (IOC) issued a directive to keep tainted officials away from elections, also filed his papers for the secretary general's post. Bhanot, who was arrested along with Suresh Kalmadi and VK Verma for their alleged role in the Commonwealth scam, said he could contest as he was yet to be convicted of the charges.

Also filing their candidacy were Volleyball Federation of India secretary general K Murugan and Judo Federation of India general secretary Mukesh Kumar, with the latter expected to withdraw.

Replacement wrangle

With the numbers in their favour, the Chautala group have gone ahead and selected their candidates to replace Randhir as India's representative in the IOC, even before the results are out. Although Randhir's term as an IOC member gets over only in mid 2013, the names of N Ramachandran and Narinder Batra have been decided as replacements. Ramachandran is also in the fray for the treasurer's post. This idea is being justified as it is the IOA's prerogative to nominate a member, but it is unlikely that the IOC will agree to replace the secretary general.

... contd.

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