Rival factions open to joining hands for fresh AAI election

Members of both the groups -- led by BVP Rao and V K Malhotra -- are set to meet on Saturday for parleys and the way forward.

Current AAI secretary Maha Singh said the upcoming meeting will be give a clear picture of the way forward. (REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE)   -  Getty Images

Rival groups led by BVP Rao and V K Malhotra are open to working together to ensure a fresh election at the Archery Association of India (AAI) is conducted within the four-week deadline set by Supreme Court.

Members of both the groups are set to meet on Saturday for parleys and the way forward.

“Some of our people are meeting individually to ensure that everything goes off well. I think joining hands will be in the best interest of archery. That’s what we would be aiming at. Our objective should be towards working together,” Anil Kamineni, former AAI secretary in the Malhotra-led group, told PTI.

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“The Supreme Court has given only four weeks time. We are all one. There’s no such thing as two groups. We are the archery family and we will continue to be that.”

Current AAI secretary Maha Singh also toed the same line and said the meeting will be give a clear picture of the way forward.

“I will be the happiest man if we function together. We will try our best and will sit together,” Singh told PTI.

In a 26-page judgment, the Supreme Court set aside the AAI constitution as amended by Delhi High Court-appointed administrator S Y Quraishi with Justices AM Khanwilkar and Ajay Rastogi ordering a fresh election.

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Following the Supreme Court ruling on Wednesday, AAI president BVP Rao resigned, protesting against too much interference from the sports ministry and Indian Olympic Association.

A retired IAS officer, Rao was elected AAI president on December 22, 2018 in the election held under the supervision of Quraishi, which brought to an end the era of Malhotra, who served as head of the national body for 40 years from 1973 to 2012 before being de-recognised by the government for not following the sports code.

The elections were initially not recognised by World Archery on the ground that the constitution used was never formally approved by the General Assembly of the AAI. The world body also hinted at a possible suspension of the AAI.

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Later, after Rao himself visited the World Archery headquarters in Lausanne, where he presented the minutes of the elective general assembly, the international body said the AAI was a recognised member. However, a final decision on the matter is yet to be taken.

The ministry and the IOA did not recognise the AAI election, saying that the amended constitution, in parts, did not conform to the National Sports Development Code of India (NSDCI), 2011.

The ministry has not included AAI among recognised national federations in its annual renewal.