Malhotra stays archery chief defying ministry guidelines

New Delhi, Nov 9 (IANS) Vijay Kumar Malhotra Friday became the first official to get re-elected as president of the Archery Association of India (AAI) for a record 40th successive year, defying the government's National Sports Development Code.

Malhotra, 80, who has been getting elected un-opposed since 1973, for the first time faced some semblance of opposition from Biyyala Venkata Papa Rao, a former IAS officer and UN official and now convener of Clean Sports India. But it turned out to be a no contest with Malhotra cantering home by a margin of 52 votes, polling 72 to Rao's 20.

The AAI went ahead with the thrice-postponed election, rejecting the sports ministry's code which stipulated age, tenure of office for the sports officials.

The tenure of office is restricted to two terms of four years each and the age fixed for an office-bearer is 70. However, a majority of national sports federations are opposed to the government guidelines, though some of them conducted their elections reluctantly accepting the code.

Returning Officer Justice (Retd.) J.D. Kapoor announced that the electoral college would be of 102 members with each state unit getting three votes and each organisation/sports boards one.

Government observer Radhica Sriman and G.S. Mander of the Indian Olympic Association were also there supervising the election.

"I am happy archery has come a long way over the years and today India is seen as one of the top nations in the sport. I am grateful to all those who have contributed to its growth and I compliment them," Malhotra told IANS soon after getting elected.

As for the contest, Malhotra said everyone was happy the way the election was conducted and there was no animosity within AAI despite the election for president's post.

"AAI remains my united family. There is no question of any animosity," said Malhotra.

"We will have to work together to take this sport to greater heights and I seek cooperation from all."

In the election for other positions, Tarlochan Singh, former MP and chairman of Minorities Commission, defeated G.A. Ibopishak Sharma for the post of senior vice-president while Virendra Sachdeva beat Sradhanand Das for the treasurer's job.

The eight vice-presidents elected are Kailash Murarka, Kiren Rijiju, Sanjiv Paul, Anantharaju, Kulbir Singh Kang, M.W. Nongbri, Ajay Gupta and Madan Lal Jadam.

Anil Kamineni had earlier replaced Paresh Nath Mukherjee as the secretary general.

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