A divided house on the issue of election resulted in a few angry outbursts at the Indian Olympics Association’s (IOA) general body meeting. The long-standing heavyweights of Indian sports officialdom had gone into a huddle in wake of International Olympics Committee’s (IOC) stern letter that reminded IOA of its authority and pulling them up for poor governance.
Tempers flared over the presence of the national athletics body representative Lalit Bhanot, whose name cropped up in the corruption scandal following the 2010 Commonwealth Games. After a heated debate the meeting eventually moved to the day’s agenda. The members decided to hold the election on November 25, with a special general body meeting on October 18 to formally start the poll process.
Sources said that senior IOA members were lobbying to postpone the elections for December but were not allowed to have their way. The issue of pending applications for the affiliation of some federations will also be considered before the polls. This means that IOA did meet IOC’s demand about clarity on the electoral dates but the more pressing query about the composition of electoral college still remains unanswered.
While IOC’s reaction is awaited, the IOA acting chief Vijay Kumar Malhotra put up a brave face. “We have decided to form a standing committee to ensure that the NSFs whose sports are in Olympic Games have majority voting rights in the electoral college,” he said.
After the meeting, the Judo Federation of India (JFI) chief Jagdish Tytler said that he did raise his voice. “The moment I saw Bhanot I lost my temper. Sports got a bad name after Commonwealth scandal. First of all he had the guts to show up. Good thing is Kalmadi stayed away. And he (Bhanot) was behaving as if there was nothing wrong. He was giving suggestions on various issues. How can anyone tolerate this,” he said.
Tytler added that IOC letter too came up for discussion. “We said that the dates should be announced soon and all the IOC guidelines be followed,” Tytler added.
Tenure issues remain
The other important issue that the IOA is faced with