International Hockey Federation (FIH) chief Narinder Batra is set to be elected as the president of Indian Olympic Association (IOA) during its Annual General Body Meeting, in New Delhi on Thursday.
Besides Batra, incumbent secretary general Rajeev Mehta is to be re-elected for a second term.
Batra’s election to the top post for a four year term will be a formality though technically there will be a contest against former All India Tennis Association (AITA) president Anil Khanna, who withdrew from the poll after the due date.
Interestingly, Khanna, who is the incumbent treasurer, did not withdraw before the deadline of December 3 but informed the Election Commission on December 7 that he will not contest the polls and will support Batra for the top job.
He said he was ‘withdrawing’ his candidature to “keep the IOA family united”.
Indian Weightlifting Federation president Birendra Baishya was also initially in the fray for the post of President but later pulled out of the race.
Earlier in the day, the Delhi High Court refused to interfere with the IOA elections after advocate and well-known sports activist Rahul Mehra sought an interim stay on the poll process on the ground that it was being held in violation of the sports code.The bench also clarified that the election process and its result will be subject to the final outcome of the application pending before this court.
Batra will thus become one of the few sports administrators who heads an important international federation as well as a National Olympic Committee.
Meanwhile, Mehta was the lone candidate for the post of the secretary general and will be declared elected for the same post tomorrow in the AGM of the IOA.
Initially, there was some uncertainty whether Batra will be eligible to contest for the post of the president but the doubts were cleared after Returning Officer S K Mendiratta ruled that those persons who were members of the Executive Councils of 2012-14 and 2014-17 can stand for the top post.
Later, a Special General Body Meeting held on November 29 passed a resolution which, in effect, was the same as the ruling of the RO.
Batra was a member of the Executive Council of 2012-14 when the IOA was under suspension for allowing chargeframed persons in the election process. He was initially an associate member of the Executive Council of 2014-17 (not a full member) but later resigned from that also.
All the other posts will have elections with the IOA Electoral College set to vote through secret ballot.
Jharkhand Olympic Association chief RK Anand will have a straight fight against former Kabaddi Federation of India president Janardhan Singh Gehlot for the lone post of senior vice-president.
There will be a three-cornered contest for the post of treasurer among Anandeshwar Pandey, Mukesh Kumar and Rakesh Gupta.