CHENNAI: What’s an election without suspense, turnarounds and drama! Going by its four-year record of delivering the goods, the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) elections was supposed to be a routine one.
However, in a twist, Ashish Shelar threw his hat in the ring for the post of president with the backing of secretary Jay Kowli. He went to Delhi to file his nomination on Sunday and was set to take on popular president Ajay Singh on December 18 at Gurugram.
Late on Monday, hours after nominations were filed, the president sent a circular announcing the postponement of elections.
Some were startled, while some felt it was the right decision considering that senior members like Meren Paul, Rajesh Bhandari, Lenny de Gama are not keeping well and will not be able to travel amid the Covid-19 situation. Altogether, there were requests from about 23 units to postpone the elections.
The Shelar camp was not amused with the development. In a statement, Shelar said he was surprised by the decision.
“…This move shows that the current dispensation of the BFI is not ready to follow the principles of democratic process,” he said.
This postponement will put the federation in a spot. Elections became necessary because the sports ministry had decided to grant recognition to 14 national federations subject to elections being held by December 31, 2020.
In most federations, elections are either over or in the process of being held. Going by proceedings in BFI, it seems unlikely that elections can be conducted by December 31. This would mean flouting a ministry directive that was submitted to Delhi High Court. It needs to be seen how BFI comes out of this without suffering any damage.
Though BFI said it has intimated the ministry about this, irrespective of that, their recognition would be under the scanner once the December 31 deadline is over.
If elections are not held soon, the entire process of issuing a notice (21 days before elections), nominations, new electoral roll to candidate nominations has to be done again.
According to a member, a new electoral roll will be required because there might be changes. If insiders are to be believed, the returning officer will take a decision soon. Some senior members feel it would take two-three months for elections to take place, preferably in person.
Also, the tenure of office-bearers and the executive committee, which ended on September 25, needs to be extended again as the three-month extension given earlier will end soon. This can be decided in a special general meeting this month. Since the president and secretary are not on the same page, it needs to be seen how BFI functions.