To end the ongoing crisis in the All India Chess Federation, its Central Council has decided to hold elections on February 9 in Ahmedabad.
What is seen in the chess circles as another chapter in the ongoing battle of wits involving AICF president P. R. Venketrama Raja and secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan, 20 affiliates of the federation attended and endorsed the decisions taken here on Sunday.
As per Friday’s directive of the Madras High Court, the decisions “shall not be implemented until further orders.” The matter will come up for hearing on January 3.
The meeting, chaired by AICF vice-president International Master Sekhar Sahu in the absence of Raja, also declared as “null and void” decisions taken in the Urgent General Body Meeting held on December 14 in Chennai .
Elaborating on the decisions taken on Sunday, Chauhan said, “Since the affiliates are yet to receive the minutes of the meeting in Chennai even after eight days, the house unanimously decided on matters before it.”
Asked about the elections scheduled by Raja in Chennai on February 10, Chauhan said, “first of all, the subject was not part of the agenda and the president ‘suo moto’ announced the date. Secondly, the Central Council also dismissed the decision taken in Chennai to form a four-member committee that includes me, to help the president conduct the elections.
“To avoid further conflict, the house decided not to consider Chennai or New Delhi and chose Ahmedabad as a neutral venue to hold the election in the presence of a Supreme Court judge.”
Chauhan also revealed the decision of the house to close the matter of a show-cause issued to him by the president.
In a long-awaited and welcome move, the meeting decided to re-register all players whose ratings were taken away in 2009. “Though the World Chess Federation had restored their rating, today we decided to welcome the players without insisting on an apology,” said Chauhan.
Gurpreet Pal Singh, a Railwayman who fought a long, legal battle against AICF for justice, welcomed the decision. “Finally, the players can return with their pride intact. We had not committed a crime in playing in tournaments considered “unrecognised” by the present dispensation. I’ll wait for the court to allow the decision to be implemented.”
Sunday’s meeting also filled up three vacant posts by nominating Karnataka’s D. P. Anantha as vice-president, Mizoram’s P. C. Lallianthanga and Nagaland’s Mughaho Awomi as joint secretaries.
The action now shifts to Bhopal, where the General Body Meeting is due on December 28, in the presence of an observer from the Union Sports Ministry.
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