CHENNAI: Election drama in the All India Chess Federation (AICF) has intensified, with objections raised against six state associations in the electoral college. This includes Tamil Nadu, whose representative PR Venketrama Raja is the incumbent AICF president and a likely candidate for the same post. His lawyer has explained why this objection is not valid. The electoral officer is expected to announce his verdict on Sunday.
Thursday and Friday saw lawyers of the Raja faction and the group headed by secretary BS Chauhan present arguments before Justice (retd) J Kannan, who was appointed electoral officer by Madras High Court. The Raja group wanted to stick to the electoral college formed in February (elections not held then due to the pandemic). The Chauhan faction wanted changes in it. The court said the same list be followed, but allowed objections. The electoral officer was empowered to have the final word.
A three-strong group of lawyers from the Chauhan side said representatives of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Tripura, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, and Himachal in the existing electoral college should not be allowed to vote. This is a sensational claim because other than Raja from Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra's representative is RM Dongre, the potential candidate for the secretary from this group. If they are not allowed to vote, the game changes. According to a member who supports Chauhan, these associations have not held elections.
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Shivanandraj, the lawyer representing the Raja faction, refuted the opponent's claims. "They came up with new objections after previous claims fell flat. Elections were not held in some states because of the pandemic and lockdown. They have time till December 31 to complete the process. In such cases, existing office-bearers continue. And when the electoral college was formed (in February), elections were not due in these states."
Six is a significant figure in a house of 32 (two votes from each association, total votes 64). The Raja camp believes it has the support of 17-18 state units including the six mentioned. The Chauhan group says they will have the same number IF objections raised by them are sustained. The election officer's verdict is crucial because the formation of the electoral college will indicate which way it is going.
Elections will be held later this month after the electoral college is formed. It has been suggested to the two sides that elections be held online. A decision on this will be taken after the electoral officer's verdict on Sunday.