In a move which could trigger control for sports in Haryana, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has certified INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala as chief of the Haryana Olympic Association (HOA) after last month’s elections.
Chautala makes a return after ten years, and Bijender Singh Lohan has been chosen as secretary general. While the state sees the presence of two factions of HOA, the other faction led by former IPS officer PV Rathee conducted its elections on November 13 and elected Rathee as its president.
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“The previous government and the present government made all efforts to stop us in HOA. The Indian Olympic Association is an independent body and the government cannot interfere in its working. The government tried moving the court but the elections were held in the presence of IOA observer. 46 state units out of 53 units attended the meeting last month and it was certified by IOA,” said Abhay Singh Chautala while speaking to The Indian Express.
The last decade has seen the HOA factions led by Chautala and Rathee respectively being involved in a legal battle with each faction claiming to be the legitimate sports body in Haryana. It would also see Chautala and his group being evicted from the HOA Bhawan in Panchkula after the formation of Rathee led HOA. Last year, the Rathee led faction also saw BJP MP Dharambir Singh take charge of the HOA but Singh resigned earlier this year. The tussle between the two has also meant Haryana missing on hosting tournaments like National Games and November 11 letter of IOA termed Chautala’s election as legal and certified. “We are recognised by the IOA and the certification letter came on November 11. The government has to approach us in case it wants to host or conduct the National Games. Haryana Sports Minister Anil Vij is terming the elections and the process illegal and wanted to stop us for contesting elections. IOA conducts tournaments like National Games and other national events and we will bound by last week’s decision by IOA ,” said Chautala.