The elections to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), scheduled to be held here on November 25, looked likely to be postponed following the resignation of the chairman of the Election Committee, S. Y. Quraishi on Saturday.
On a day when scrutiny of nominations was scheduled, Quraishi’s resignation forced the Returning Officer, Justice V. K. Bali, to inform the IOA Acting President, V. K. Malhotra that scrutiny could be taken up only after the vacancy in the commission was filled up.
Justice Bali said that since propriety demanded that there should be a three-member panel, as appointed by the IOA to conduct the elections, scrutiny could be taken up only after the full panel was in place.
He said that there would be no question of postponing the entire schedule and the panel could resume from where the process got stopped once the third member was nominated.
The panel is likely to keep the same gap between scrutiny, withdrawals and elections.
Malhotra stated that he would hold consultations with senior members of the IOA and would name the “Chairman/ member of the Election Commission at the earliest.”
Malhotra said that Quraishi in his resignation letter had stated that he was quitting the commission because there was a “breakdown of consensus.”
Quraishi, according to Malhotra, wanted the IOA elections to be held under Sports Code of the Government of India.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had written to Malhotra and Quraishi last Thursday expressing its reservations about the elections being held under the Sports Code of the government.
The IOC wanted the elections to be conducted as per the IOA constitution and by-laws, as approved by it.
Malhotra reiterated on Saturday what he had conveyed to the IOC on Friday, that from the very beginning the IOA had been against the Sports Code but there was a High Court order stipulating that the code be followed and the IOA could not ignore that.
He said at the Sports Code, the Delhi High Court directive and the IOC communiqué were at variance and had led to different interpretations.
The elections were notified by the Returning Officer on November 5, stating that the Sports Code would be followed in the election process.
The model guidelines for elections, as available in the code, were also circulated along with the notice.
The IOA Secretary-General, Randhir Singh, and the former boxing federation president, Abhay Singh Chautala, are the main contenders for the president’s post while Lalit Bhanot, representing Delhi Olympic Association, and K. Murugan, Secretary, Volleyball Federation of India, are to figure in the contest for secretary-general.