It may put India's return to the Olympic fold in jeopardy but the suspended Indian Olympic Association's (IOA) general body meeting on Sunday is set to ignore the International Olympic Council's (IOC) directive to bar chargesheeted officials from contesting elections through constitutional amendments.
As the IOA officials get ready for the meeting, foremost in their mind would be the issue of the IOC's draft revised constitution. According to sources, the contentious issue in the IOC’s draft constitution — Ethics Code — is expected to consume most of the time.
It was learnt that most of the members would want the IOC to take a more lenient stand on the ethics issue.
The IOC had sent a revised draft constitution that barred corruption-tainted persons from contesting IOA elections. But IOA officials have asserted that amendments to bar corruption-tainted officials cannot be carried out as Indian law permits chargesheeted persons to contest even Parliamentary elections. So the meeting might prove inconclusive.
If the IOA implements IOC’s revised draft, Lalit Bhanot, who was elected secretary general last year, will not be eligible to contest elections. Sports Minister Jitendra Singh has already expressed his views saying, “India supports the efforts of the IOC to strengthen ethical standards in the IOA.”
A member associated with the elections revealed that the meeting otherwise would finalise details of the elections. A top official said: “The dates of the elections will be fixed and will be held under the new constitution.”
There are indications that the IOA might even name a new candidate as India's representative to the IOC, Randhir Singh, resigned as IOA’s secretary general last year.
Senior vice-president of the IOA, Tarlochan Singh told TNIE: “Each and every issue pertaining to the IOA will be discussed and we will try to resolve them.” Singh seemed optimistic of the lifting of the ban on the IOA very soon.
The IOA has been under intense pressure from the Sports Ministry and some top athletes of the country have backed the IOC initiative to remove corruption-tainted officials and clean up sports in the country.