Ajay Patel will succeed P. R. Venketrama Raja as the new President of the All India Chess Federation (AICF) after being elected unopposed along with incumbent Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan.

In all, five office-bearers were declared winners by Returning Officer -- former Supreme Court judge -- Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla. The new set of office-bearers will hold their positions till 2023.

Naresh Sharma (treasurer), M Arun Singh (joint secretary) and Vipnesh Bharadwaj (vice-president) were also elected unopposed.

The AICF has been split into two camps - one headed by P. R. Venketrama Raja, the former president, and one led by Chauhan. Those elected belong to the Chauhan faction.

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In his three-page order, Kalifulla said the proposed election scheduled on February 23 in Hyderabad cannot take place.

“As the election process has been concluded, all original relevant files will be forwarded to the Registry of the High Court, Madras on February 12,” he said.

However, the opposing camp still remained hopeful. Sources in the Raja camp said the final outcome of the election will be decided by the Madras High Court.

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Earlier in the day, Raja and others had approached the Madras High Court seeking relief against the rejection of their nominations by the returning officer.

Kalifulla had on Sunday rejected the nomination forms of 23 contestants --including that of Venketrama Raja and several others -- as they did not file their nominations in person as specified in the para 6.4 of the National Sports Development Code.

The High Court had appointed Kallifulla as the returning officer to conduct the elections after the two factions had approached it as they had called for general body meetings on different dates