Friday, Nov 28, 2014

Gymkhana Club split wide open over special induction of VIPs

Written by Debesh Banerjee | New Delhi | Posted: June 24, 2014 10:44 am

The Delhi Gymkhana Club is split down the middle over its president’s decision to induct 38 sarkari VIPs under a special category of membership. Calling his decision arbitrary, a section of the members have submitted a memorandum to him — drawing the battlelines.

At the centre of the row is president Vijay Chhibber’s move to reintroduce the “Eminent” category of membership, which was stalled in 2012 following protests from several members.

The memorandum, signed by about 70 members, says, “We (the members)… are extremely upset and would like to lodge a strong protest against the way in which the GC (Governing Committee) under your presidentship has been taking certain arbitrary decisions without taking the sentiments and views of the stakeholders into consideration.”

Chhibber, who is also the Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, said such inductions under the “Eminent” category are part of practice at the club. “We are just reintroducing this category of membership which was on hold since 2012. It is a scheme carrying on from 1976 and we are duty-bound to do it. It is a part of the club’s heritage and whether we do it or not, eventually it is our privilege,” he said.

Following the GC meeting earlier this month, the club drew up a list of 38 heavyweights from the government, civil services and defence forces, all of whom will now be invited for an “At Home” session with the GC members of the club to be held later this month. The 38 names were picked from among the huge pile of applications with the club.

The names on the list, accessed by Newsline, include top bureaucrats and high ranking officers of the defence establishment, such as Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth, former Revenue Secretary Rajiv Takru, deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff, Operations Lt Gen R P Dastane, NHAI Chairman R P Singh, Army Chief designate Dalbir Singh Suhag, Additional DG, NIA, Navneet Rajan Wasan and several serving and retired Secretaries.

Interestingly, the proposed membership list includes the names of applicants who have already availed their five-year tenure as part of the “Eminent” category, such as Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi and Chairman of the 7th Pay Commission Justice Ashok Kumar Mathur. They are being considered for another five year-term under this category.

The memorandum requested the president to convene an Emergency General Meeting at the earliest to discuss matters concerning the induction of such a large group under the ‘Eminent’ category. The memorandum also requested the president to halt the convening of an “At Home” on June 28 for this list of applicants. Sources said the “At Home” has been postponed for now.

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