Defying World Archery’s suspension threats, the two factions of Archery Association of India Sunday unanimously elected two presidents – Arjun Munda and BVP Rao – in separate elections in New Delhi and Chandigarh respectively.
Both the warring factions, who claimed to have followed the constitution and abided by the National Sports Code, will submit their respective compliance reports within six weeks to the Delhi High Court.
It, however, remains to be seen which of the two elections is declared constitutional.
After issuing a suspension threat, the World Archery had tried to have an unified election but all the talks to bring the two factions together failed. A WA official said the world body will take a call on whether the AAI is to be suspended or not within “a week’s time”.
Till then, the Indian archers who are competing at the World Championships in Netherlands beginning Tuesday will be able to represent the country.
“World Archery will receive the reports from both meetings, evaluate and then the executive board will decide next steps. It’s likely to take one week,” a WA official told PTI.
“The team manager’s meeting (for the World Championships) was over today, which means ‘India’ are in the competition,” the official added.
In New Delhi, retired Justice Kailash Gambhir declared union minister Munda elected as president. Virender Sachdeva was made Secretary General.
“I can’t comment on the dual federations, but we have strictly followed the process and it’s time to work together for the benefit of Indian archers and take sport the forward,” former Jharkhand chief minister Munda told PTI.
“This platform is created to take sport in the country to a greater height. Let’s not bring politics into it.”
Asked about WA’s suspension threat, he said: “They have to see who has followed the genuine process and take a call. Legal formalities will be met. We have got the support from most of the states in India.”
Sunil Sharma, who was made senior vice-president, claimed that they had representation from 23 states and only eight turned up for the elections in Chandigarh.
“Tomorrow we will go to ministry and submit the reports. In Chandigarh, only eight states participated as Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh did not participate. They also did not have the observer so their executive body will not be legal,” Sharma said.
In Chandigarh, additional district judge (retired) Tejinder Bir Singh, who was the returning officer, declared Rao and his executive committee elected unanimously.
“We had 33 per cent of the general body as per quorum. We had 11 states which is 33 per cent of the general body. That’s what is required. We are the legal body. We conducted the elections as per Supreme Court’s directions. We will file the compliance report in the High Court. Then the court will give a verdict,” he said.
“They (rival group) tried their best and pressurised so many people so that they don’t turn up and we don’t have the quorum. In spite of their high-handedness, we conducted the elections in a fair manner,” Rao added.
On the absence of an observer he said: “Government did not send any observer. Even in the last elections which was held under the supervision of Delhi HC appointed SY Quraishi, we did not have any observer. I’ve also written to the Prime Minister.”
Three-time Olympian and ex-India coach Limba Ram was included in the general body.
Limba will be a part of the three general council members which also has Kailash and Tira Samanta. Four former archers – Lalrem Sanga Changte, Rajendra Guiya, Dhulchand Damor and Bhagyabati Chanu – were also made executive committee members.
“We have taken former Olympians into our committee following the constitution and Sports Code,” Rao said.