CHENNAI: In a moral victory of sorts for the faction headed by president PR Venketrama Raja, the electoral officer in charge of the All India Chess Federation (AICF) elections has overruled objections raised by the group led by secretary BS Chauhan.
This decision was announced by electoral officer Justice (retd) J Kannan on Saturday.
In a bitter battle between the two camps, the Chauhan group had said that the electoral roll approved in February should be changed. They had raised objections against six to seven associations. This included Tamil Nadu, which is represented by Raja, and Maharashtra, where RM Dongre, secretary aspirant from this faction, comes from.
In a house of 32 (two votes from each state), six to seven is a significant number, enough to alter equations in a close fight.
After hearing lawyers of both sides over several virtual presentations, Justice Kannan explained in his order the cases of each of the disputed associations before concluding: "The representation already made for each of the associations and incorporated earlier in the order dated 6.2..2020, will stay."
Elections will be online considering travel difficulties due to the pandemic. Dates and details of the process will be announced on December 17.
Relieved that objections against states which they believe are in their favour were overruled, the Raja camp felt vindicated.
"We could have objected against some of the states. We didn't, because we want elections to take place. Our opposition wanted to delay the process, knowing that they don't have the numbers, and made invalid claims. Around 19 associations are with us and this number may increase," said Dongre.
Despite this setback of sorts, the Chauhan camp is upbeat.
"Everything we said was rejected and everything they said were upheld. That's alright. We are confident of winning even from this electoral list. At least 18 associations are with us," said Naresh Sharma, who is expected to contest for treasurer from the Chauhan camp.
If the two sides stick to their guns, the AICF will witness contests in elections for the first time after 2005. All elections after that had been unanimous.