February 15, 2009 2:19:35 am
The spruced up Constitution Club,established at the place where the Indian Constitution was drafted,is going in for an election to elect its administration for the first time. But interestingly,battlelines have been drawn,not quite in accordance with party boundaries.
Some interesting loyalties and panels are at work.
The club has been in existence for more than six decades,but it was registered with the Registrar of Societies barely three years ago.
The Club,that underwent a complete makeover recently,has a spa,lounges,a gym,a billiards room and a swimming pool.
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For the past three years,the Lok Sabha Speaker nominated executive members and various other secretaries. The Speaker is the ex-officio chairman of the Constitution Club. Any former or present Member of Parliament is eligible to be a member of this club.
The first phase of polling for the Club was held on February 3 in which 125 members voted in the Parliament annexe.
BJP MP Vijay Goel,however,had shot off a letter to Speaker Somnath Chatterjee requesting a change of venue and time of polling. Goel has also requested secret ballot. The remaining 508 members will vote on February 18.
At least,the election of the Constitutional Club should be fought constitutionally. The byelaws lay down that the election should be held when the Parliament is in session. This election was never meant to be in two phases. It has only created confusion, said Goel. Cutting across party lines,politics of a different kind is being played out over the clubs election. The contenders have divided themselves into two panels.
BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy heads the panel which has 14 members,including Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit,Pallam Raju,BJPs Shahnawaz Hussain,Congress Rajiv Shukla and Navin Jindal,CPMs Hannan Mollah and Rahul Bajaj,among others.
The others have thrown their weight behind Goel and Ram Nath Kovind.
Rudy has already been elected unopposed as administrative secretary of the club. An executive committee of 14 members will be elected.
The fight is tough for each post. For Secretary Culture,former Dalit Morcha president of the BJP,Ram Nath Kovind,is standing against Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit. For the post of Secretary Sports,Naveen Jindal,Santokh Singh and K Asungha Sangtam are slugging it out.
The most interesting fight,however,is for the treasurer’s post where Goel has locked horns with CPI(M) leader Hannan Mollah.
Instead of supporting his own party member Goel,Rudy is backing Mollah.
In the previous term,when I was nominated as secretary administration,Hannan Mollah was the treasurer. Im supporting the people who were part of the team in my earlier term as we had worked hard to transform Constitution Club to a place we can all be proud of, Rudy told Newsline.
Singing a similar tune,Goel claims that the differences with Rudy over the Constitutional Club elections have nothing to do with their personal or political ties. I am not aware who Rudy is supporting, Goel said.
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