The Returning Officer appointed by the Indian Olympic Association to conduct its elections on December 14 has ruled that office bearers and members of the Executive Council elected in 2012 and 2014 can contest for the post of new president.
Incumbent president N Ramachandran has decided not to seek re-election and there has been speculation that International Hockey Federation chief Narinder Batra may throw his hat into the ring and contest for the top job.
The IOA has called for a Special General Body Meeting in New Delhi on November 29 to “discuss and interpret” the eligibility criteria for election to the post of president and secretary general ahead of the December 14 polls.
But with the RO SK Mendiratta issuing a notice on the same matter, the SGM may now accept his ruling when the members assemble on November 29. “The election of the office bearers and Members of Executive Council of the IOA would be held as per the Memorandum and Rules and Regulations of IOA amended upto 8.12.2013 and Election Bye-Laws,” Mendiratta, an advisor to the Election Commission of India, said in the notice.
“For the purpose of clarification, it is made clear that the office bearers and members of the Executive Council elected in AGM in 2012 and 2014, both are entitled to contest for the posts of president and secretary general,” he added.
The ruling could pave the way for Batra to file his nominations for the post of president as he was one of the vice-presidents elected in the AGM of 2012. He was not a member of the Executive Council elected in February 2014.
Mendiratta also issued the ‘Election Schedule’ under which candidates will have to file nominations before 2 pm on November 28. Earlier on November 8, the International Olympic Committee has told the IOA in a letter to hold the elective General Assembly in accordance with the Olympic Charter and the IOA Constitution currently in force, as approved by the international body.
The international parent body has said that the election the process should be conducted by an independent Election Commission in line with the election bye-laws established for the last IOA elections in 2014.
The IOC also said that in the event of any doubt as to the interpretation and/or implementation of the IOA Constitution, the matter will be referred to the General Assembly for a final decision, as clearly mentioned in Article XXXI (e) of the IOA Constitution.
It has been learnt that current IOA treasurer Anil Khanna may contest the President’s election.