In a first, the Delhi Gymkhana Club is set to hold the upcoming committee elections through e-voting. To be held between September 18-22, this will allow its 5,600 permanent members to vote from across the world. “All these years, only people from Delhi-NCR voted, amounting to 1,500-1,800 votes. This move aims at involving more members in the process. The firm hired to make this happen has been briefed about the peculiarities of the members — most are above the age of 60. So, the process has to be simplified since many aren’t technologically savvy,” said Brigadier HPS Bedi, who is a member of the outgoing committee. On September 23, ballot voting will also take place at the Club. “It’s a big bonhomie, like a mela… everyone comes together for this,” said Bedi.
For the post of President are two names — Additional Controller General of Defence Accounts, Prashant Sukul, and former RAW officer Krishan Varma. The 16+1-member committee has 37 candidates in the running, with many being railways, defence and revenue officers, a source said.
“The main contention is membership. Two groups exist: the UCPs (use of club premises) are children, below the age of 21, of sitting members; and other is the 21+ group, whose children were older than 21 when they became members, hence don’t qualify for automatic membership of the club like those whose children are below 21. Wrong preference being given to UCP takes away 25% of the general vacancies,” the source said.
At the moment, the wait-period for attaining membership of the Delhi Gymkhana Club is 20-25 years for government category, and 35-40 years for non-government. While Bedi pushed for e-voting, he believes it should have been implemented in the next elections. “It has left scope for some manipulation, as a lot of the email addresses haven’t been verified and some emails have bounced back. Secondly, it is apprehended that UCPs will proxy vote for their parents, thereby tilting the result. It should have been made foolproof before implementation,” he said.
With elections inching closer, it’s party time for Gymkhana club members, as a source mentioned that the “hospitality is at its best, with soirees and dinners being thrown by candidates on both sides”.