Undermining the authority of Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president N Ramachandran, the executive council today decided to shift the venue of the Annual General Body from Chennai to New Delhi against his wishes besides reversing another decision taken by him.
Ramachandran did not attend the emergent executive council meeting called by secretary general Rajeev Mehta after 19 of the 27 members of the top decision making body demanded it.
In Ramachandran’s absence, senior vice president Virendra Nanavati chaired the meeting.
Twenty-one of the 27 executive council members attended today’s meeting while vice-president Anurag Thakur expressed inability to attend it as he was busy with assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh.
Ramachandran has already called a meeting of executive council in Chennai on November 9. He has also called the AGM on December 14 in Chennai to elect the new office bearers of the IOA, including the president and secretary general.
“The decision taken today will be ratified at the Executive Council meeting called by the president on November 9 in Chennai,” Mehta said.
Ramachandran’s support in the council has been reduced to a few members and if some are to be believed he can be removed from his post before or during the AGM on December 14.
He now faces the prospect of being outmanoeuvred by his rivals at his home turf in the IOA power struggle as all the members who attended the meeting today decided to be present in the meeting called by him on November 9.
“The executive council today decided to hold the AGM in Delhi instead of in Chennai on December 14. We have also named the election commission and returning officer to conduct the elections on December 14 during this AGM. All of them are the same as those who conducted the elections in February 2014,” vice-president Tarlochan Singh said.
Asked if it is legal to hold an executive council meeting on the demand of the members and not by the president, Tarlochan said, “Under the IOA Constitution, the Executive Council can also called a meeting. If the majority of members want a meeting, the president or the secretary general will have to call it. “There is overwhelming majority, 19 out of 27 wanted this meeting and today 21 turned up. This is totally legal. The president should have been graceful enough and attend this meeting. But unfortunately, he chose not to attend this. Neither he called the meeting nor attended it.”
The meeting also decided to reject the arbitrators appointed by Ramachandran in the factional feud in the Andhra Pradesh Olympic Association.
Another vice-president R K Anand lashed out at Ramachandran for creating unnecessary trouble despite being ineligible to contest elections as per the age limit of 70.
“We are not following the Lodha Committee recommendations but we are totally following the National Sports Code as far as tenure and age limit guidelines are concerned. Ramachandran is 69 and I think he will be 70 sometime in August next year. He is not eligible to contest for the post of president,” Anand said.
“The post of IOA president is four years. A candidate will have to fulfil the qualification to remain in office for four years before contesting the election,” he said.
The members though did not go the extreme and did not take any decision on a motion by Hockey India to take action on Ramachandran for tarnishing the image of the IOA.
HI had cited Ramachandran’s recent action to appoint arbitrators on his own without consulting anybody and the attempt to recognise the erstwhile Indian Amateur Boxing Federation as a clear attempt to please Abhay Singh Chautala who once headed the body.
“We did not want to take the extreme step because we don’t want controversy. It is better if he (Ramachandran) is sidelined automatically. If he continues to create issues we will not leave him,” said Anand, who is also the president of Jharkhand Olympic Association.