CHENNAI: As was reported by this daily a few days ago, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) on Sunday announced its election schedule during the Emergency General Council and Executive Committee meetings held in Gonda, Uttar Pradesh. WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who was sidelined by the sports ministry after top wrestlers of the country staged a protest against him in January, confirmed that he will not contest the election. However, he may still remain associated with the federation in a new role.
As per the schedule, the affiliated units have been asked to send the names of two voters from each association latest by April 26 to prepare the electoral college. As many as 27 units including Railway Sports Promotion Board and Services Sports Control Board are affiliated with the WFI. The two, however, do not have voting rights. Nominations can be filed on April 28 and 29 while the same can be withdrawn on May 3.
Singh has served three four-year terms as president in a row rendering him ineligible to contest for the top post as per the Sports Code. "We had to schedule elections earlier, but due to the recent controversy, we could not hold the polls then, but now we will move forward. I will follow the Sports Code and not contest for president's post," he was quoted as saying after the meeting. Singh also hinted that he may contest for another post to remain associated with the federation. His son, Karan, who is president of the Uttar Pradesh association, may contest for the president's post, sources in the know of the development said.
Meanwhile, the Tokyo Olympic and multiple World Championship medallist Bajrang Punia, who led the protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, said they will prefer to wait for the report of the oversight committee constituted to probe allegations including sexual harassment against Singh before chalking out future strategies.
"We have full faith in the government that it will not let us down. We will wait for the report before finalising our future strategies. As far as elections are concerned, we can talk on it only after the report is out," Bajrang told this daily.
Apart from the oversight committee, the Indian Olympic Association also formed a committee to investigate charges against WFI and its president on request from the wrestlers. It is learnt that both committees have completed their probe and submitted reports to the authorities concerned.