It was advantage Bharat Singh Chauhan faction after the returning officer for the All India Chess Federation elections Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla rejected nominations of 23 candidates, including that of incumbent president PR Venketrama Raja.

Kalifulla had on Sunday rejected the nominations on the grounds that they did not file their nominations in person. Officials in the Chauhan camp said chances of elections seemed remote as the five candidates whose nominations have been found valid will be elected unopposed.

The AICF elections are scheduled to be held in Hyderabad on February 23.

Retired Supreme Court Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla, the returning officer, accepted as valid nominations of five people, all belonging to the camp led by AICF secretary Chauhan.

Chauhan’s camp also includes Gujarat State Chess Association chief Ajay H Patel, who is contesting for the president’s post.

The former supreme court judge had ruled that the candidature of 23 people was rejected for having failed to comply with the mandatory requirement of para 6.4 of the National Sports Development Code.

According to FIDE Zone 3.7 president RM Dongre, who had filed his nomination for the post of secretary from the Raja camp, an appeal would be filed in the court in connection with the rejection of nominations.

The five nominations that were found valid were that of Patel, Chauhan, Naresh Sharma (contesting for treasurer’s post), M Arun Singh (joint secretary) and Vipnesh Bharadwaj (vice-president).

All the five had filed their papers in person with the returning officer. While Patel is contesting for the post of president, Chauhan is standing for re-election as secretary.

The Madras High Court had on January 28 ordered elections of office-bearers of the AICF in Chennai on February 10. The returning officer had later announced that the elections would be held in Hyderabad on February 23.

Although the candidatures of eight members of the Chauhan section were also cancelled, they have valid nominations for key posts. The list includes Ajay Patel, Chauhan and Naresh Sharma, who are fighting for the posts of president, secretary and treasurer, respectively.