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Batra files nomination papers for IOA president post

(Eds: Updating with more details)

New Delhi, Nov 27 (PTI) International Hockey Federation president Narinder Batra has filed his nominations for the post of the president of the Indian Olympic Association weeks ahead of its General Body Meeting on December 14 here.

The upcoming AGM will elect a new set of office bearers for the country's apex sports body.

Batra has filed four sets of nomination papers with a proposer and seconder each. IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta was one of the proposers of Batra while treasurer Anil Khanna was one of the seconders. Khanna was earlier considered as one of the possible candidates for the top job.

Interestingly, Batra has also filed another three sets of nomination papers for the post of senior vice-president.

Incumbent Secretary General Rajeev Mehta also filed nomination papers, seeking re-election to the same post he is currently holding. He also filed four sets of nomination papers with Batra proposing him for the post in one of them.

Former member of BJP's National Council member Sudhanshu Mittal also filed his nomination paper for one of the posts of vice-president with Batra proposing his name.

The deadline for filing nomination papers for the various posts is 2pm tomorrow and the list of the persons who have filed nominations will be put up at 5pm.

If other candidates do not file nomination papers by this deadline, both Batra and Mehta could be declared elected unopposed as president and secretary general respectively.

Batra's candidature was on expected lines though initially there was some uncertainty over whether he would contest for the post of the president. But it was cleared after the Returning Officer -- appointed by the IOA to conduct the elections -- ruled that office bearers and members of the Executive Council elected in 2012 and 2014 can contest for the post of president and secretary general.

Batra, now 60, was one of the vice-presidents from 2012 to 2014, but he was not a member of the executive council that was elected in February 2014 when India returned to the Olympic fold after a ban of 14 months.

Incumbent president N Ramachandran has decided not to seek a re-election.

The IOA has also called for a Special General Body Meeting here 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, S K Mendiratta, having issued 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.

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 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

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