CHENNAI: Chess is a game of 64 squares. The All India Chess Federation (AICF) elections will see a game of 64 votes on January 4.
Court-appointed electoral officer Justice (retd) K Kannan announced the date on Thursday. The process will be conducted online due to travel apprehensions caused by the pandemic.
Elections in the AICF are significant for two reasons. This is the first time after 2005 that there will be a contest. In the last 15 years, candidates were chosen unanimously.
Second, the build-up has seen a bitter clash between the factions led by president PR Venketrama Raja and secretary BS Chauhan. Things became acrimonious at times, with the president and secretary suspending each other, which led to the appointment of the electoral officer.
According to a notice released by Justice Kannan, 64 members of the electoral college have to register their names on a 'secure portal' created specifically for this. There are 32 state units on the electoral roll, with two votes from each. Nominations will be received for the 15 posts from December 22-24. After scrutiny of nominations through video conference, a list of valid candidates will be released at 4 pm on December 26.
It's more or less decided that Raja will represent Tamil Nadu and fight to retain his post. RM Dongre (Maharashtra) and Kishor Bandekar (Goa) will be the candidates for secretary and treasurer, respectively, from this camp.
Ajay Patel (Gujarat) is expected to be the candidate for president from the other group. Chauhan (Delhi) and Naresh Sharma (Haryana) will fight for the posts of secretary and treasurer from this faction.
As it happens when elections approach, the rival groups are trying to persuade members and trying to woo them to their side. "We are confident of support from around 20 state units," said Sharma.
Their rivals are saying had that been the case, they wouldn't have raised objections against so many of them. "We have at least 19 and they know it. That's why they tried to delay the process," claimed Dongre.