Ending more than one-and-a-half year-old impasse in Indian boxing officialdom, a new body headed by industrialist Sandeep Jajodia was elected in Mumbai on Thursday for a four-year term in the elections conducted via a secret ballot in the presence of two observers from world body AIBA.
While Jajodia, representing Chhattisgarh BA, was elected unopposed as President of Boxing India (BI) in the elections in which 33 units took part, Jay Kowli of Maharashtra was elected as Secretary-General in a three- cornered contest in which he polled the highest number of votes (32), said AIBA’s India-based observer Kishen Narsi.
Also elected as treasurer was Hemanta Kumar Kalita of Assam, who defeated two other rivals by garnering 41 votes, said Narsi, who was the AIBA observer along with AIBA’s legal manager Cliodhna Guy who had flown down from Lausanne, Switzerland, to oversee the elections.
Narsi announced the results after Returning Officer Justice (retd) D K Deshmukh, who had a “pressing commitment” in an arbitration matter, had to leave early.
Ten Vice-Presidents and a seven-member Executive Council were also declared elected.
Narsi, however, said as far as the Indian boxers’ participation in the Asian Games, starting in South Korea next week-end, is concerned, things have to become clearer.
“Thirteen boxers’ names have been sent to the Asian Games Organising Committee. They have been training hard in Patiala and Delhi. The present situation (about their participation) is not clear.
“A process has been followed and its results will be sent to the AIBA Executive Council (for clearance). But there’s time as boxing events start only on the 23rd.”
Narsi, who was part of the ad-hoc committee formed by IOA to run boxing affairs, had stepped down after being appointed by AIBA as observer for Thursday’s elections.
Narsi said “The IOA was informed that two observers, myself and Cliodhna, will be the AIBA observers at the elections. They were asked to send their observer. None came. You have to ask them the reason.”
Boxing India had been floated by Jajodia and Udit Sheth of Transtadia who are the owners of the Indian boxing franchise in AIBA-promoted World Series Boxing (WSB), after the Indian Boxing Federation was first suspended in December 2012 and then suspended this year by the world body.
In early May, Boxing India received provisional recognition from AIBA to form a new federation that would govern the sport in India.
Narsi said the voting “was totally transparent and very peaceful” and it was for the first time in 32 years that the secret ballot system was followed in boxing elections for the national body, though one delegate differed and said it was last followed in 1997.
“Earlier, the President was elected and it was left to him to form his team,” said Narsi, a very senior and long-serving international boxing official.
He said the elections cleared the way for Indian boxers to earn substantial money on two other formats promoted by AIBA – WSB and AIBA Pro Boxing (APB).
“Two of our boxers — Shiv Thapa and Sumit Sangwan — have represented USA franchise in WSB. Two or three other franchises were interested in Indian boxers. They can improve their ranking and earn a large amount of money.”
The new BI President, who is Chairman and MD of Monet Group, which is into steel, power and mining, said his priority was to set the stage for the nationals.
“I am deeply humbled by the confidence and faith that AIBA President Dr CK Wu and the Boxing India members has placed in me. I am eager to restore the action in boxing.
“Boxing India shall soon set stage for national championship to end the dry spell for our boxers since they have been out of ring for long. BI will ensure that our boxers compete under the national flag with pride and for national pride. Our focus and efforts will be towards making boxing as the most loved and viewed sport in India,” he said.
Newly-elected Secretary General Kowli said, “We have been suffering for more than two years. This is a landmark day for Indian boxing. There were various problems and obstacles which have been overcome and against all odds we have conducted the elections in a transparent and peaceful manner.”
“This is a historic moment for India as a new boxing federation has been formed. It is a fresh chapter for the sport and we look forward to kick-starting operations soon.
“Following our AIBA ratified five-year developmental plan, we will work towards reforming the sport from youth development, national calendar for competitions and hosting of International events,” Kowli added.
The Mumbai-based boxing official edged out rivals Rohit Jain (Delhi, 27 votes) and Rakesh Thakran (Haryana, 4 votes) to bag the post of BI Secretary-General.
Kalita also had a comfortable win to become the Treasurer as he overcame the challenge from Khoibi Salaam (Manipur, 15 votes) and Dr Rupak Debroy (Tripura, 8 votes).
The elected committee:
President: Sandeep Jajodia (Elected unopposed) Secretary General: Jay Kowli – 32 votes Treasurer: Hemanta Kumar Kalita – 41 votes
Vice-Presidents (10): Jaipal Singh – 49 votes, Nirwan Mukerjee (46), G V Ravi Raju (46), C K Jerath (45), C B Raje (43), Kalikanta Boro (42), T Meren Paul (38), Anil Kumar Bohidar (37), Dalpat Singh Arya (34), Rohan Khuante (34).
Members of the Executive Council: Jas Lal Pradhan (58), R Gopu (49), Rajeev Kumar Singh (40), Dr Nirmolak Singh (39), Anil Mishra (38), D P Bhatt (32), Amarjit Singh (29).