Indian Olympic Association election hots up, president Narinder Batra seeks SGM on December 19

Express News Service

CHENNAI: It’s no secret that there are differences between the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president and the secretary general. This year, as the elections are approaching, it seems things are getting messier. On Thursday, there were letters from the president and the secretary.

The president, Narinder Batra, was seeking approval from the executive council to hold the special general body meeting of the IOA on December 19 with elections as the agenda. The location apparently is Bengaluru as of now.

On the other hand, the letter from secretary general, Rajeev Mehta, said that there will be an executive council meeting at Hyatt Regency in New Delhi on November 1. This apparently is the executive council meeting that was cancelled on October 9. Some members found it baffling that the secretary general called for a meeting on such short notice.

The president on Friday termed it illegal as it was sent without his permission and was in violation of the IOA constitution as it was not approved by him. According to an internal communication, the majority of the executive council members requested a special general body meeting.

The appointment of Returning Officer will be crucial. Either of the factions would try and first get their choice as the RO is the one who would finalise those eligible to vote and those who can’t. It must be noted that in the last couple of years, there have been quite a few elections of State Olympic Associations and National Sports Federations where two factions dominated.

This also led to rivalry and fractions within the NSFs and state units. Apparently, one of the agendas for the secretary’s executive council meeting is to induct new members in IOA.

All eyes are on the post of secretary general and the treasurer whose eight-year term is getting over this year in December. However, as things stand, the elections are going to be intriguing, especially after reports indicated that Mehta will challenge Batra for the top post.

Though the Batra-led panel is yet to be finalised, there are strong candidates that are doing the rounds. According to insiders, only the president’s name has been finalised. There are apprehensions that the elections might end up in the court room.

For the last two years, there have been no executive council meetings and because of the pandemic last year, the IOA general body meeting, too, was not held. It is understood that the president had issued a notice on the SGM with a single point agenda and if approved by the majority of the executive council members, the process of issuing of notice would begin in early November. However, with so much acrimony between the two factions, it needs to be seen where the battle is headed to.

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