AICF Polls: Kapoor elected president, Chauhan secy, Raja checkmated (Ld)

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By Venkatachari Jagannathan

Chennai, Jan 4 (IANS) The Bharat Singh Chauhan team won the All India Chess Federation (AICF) polls convincingly on Monday humbling the faction led by former president P.R. Venketrama Raja.

As per the final results of the online poll held on Monday, Sanjay Kapoor, Chauhan and Naresh Sharma were declared elected for the three crucial posts of president, secretary and treasurer of AICF.

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The six persons who were elected for the posts of vice-presidents are Anantha D.P, Bhavesh Patel, Vipnesh Bhardwaj, Ajay Ajmera, PC Lallianthanga and Er. Niapung Konia.

The newly-elected joint secretaries are Rajesh R, Mahendra Dhakal, Atul Kumar, Mughaho Awomi, Diljeet Khanna and Atanu Lahiri.

“In the New Year, the AICF will start is new journey under the new team. As regards the results, the truth has finally triumphed. We have been saying that the numbers favour us,” Sanjay K Chadha, a voter belonging to Chauhan faction told IANS.

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According to the Madras High Court-appointed Election Officer K. Kannan, a retired judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court, there was no observer to attest to the declaration of results, since the representative of the Central Government did not join the process in spite of a window made available in the election portal for her presence.

He also said that some voters had not cast all the six votes for the posts of vice-presidents and joint secretaries, though there had been software prompts showing that all the votes had not been cast.

The new office-bearers will hold posts till 2023.

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Online polling for electing the new office bearers that began at 11 a.m. progressed smoothly with voters getting the confirmation of whom they have voted.

“Today (Monday) morning, the Election Officer had sent a mail saying the confirmation facility to whom the vote has been cast is available,” Chauhan said.

On Sunday, IANS had reported the concerns raised by voters about the integrity and security of the online voting process for electing the new office bearers.

“The voting process took just two minutes. It was simple and there was no glitch. I got the confirmation as to whom I had voted. The confirmation was on the screen and the voters could take a picture,” Lahiri belonging to the Raja camp told IANS.

“We have not pressurised any voter. Our supporters are voting from their homes,” Lahiri had added.

Both the camps had earlier claimed that they would win by securing 36 votes.

“In the New Year, the AICF will start is new journey under the new team. We have been saying that the numbers favour us. The polling was smooth and there was no technological glitch,” Sanjay K Chadha, a voter belonging to Chauhan faction told IANS.

Closer to the polling day, Chauhan camp carried out a coup of sorts by roping in Kapoor to their side away from the Raja camp.

Kapoor’s switching over to Chauhan’s camp and contesting against Raja was something like a surprise check for the opponent’s king in the game of chess.

According to a person belonging to Raja faction, Kapoor’s switching over was a setback.

“Perhaps Kapoor wanted to contest for a bigger post as we had offered him the post of vice president,” Vijay Deshpande, secretary, All Marathi Chess Association and part of Raja camp had earlier told IANS.

As per the nominations filed, persons from 28 state associations — 14 each from the two factions — are contesting in the AICF polls for various posts.

The electoral college for AICF consists of 32 state associations, with each association having two votes.

The online voting system is developed by Zoho Corporation, a city based software company.

As regards what the players are expecting from the new office-bearers, Grandmaster Abhijit Kunte who is also a Managing Committee Member of the Chess Players Forum, had told IANS: “The new body should protect the players’ rights as listed out in the National Sports Development Code.”

He said owing to Covid-19 pandemic, mid-level players, coaches and arbiters were put to a lot of hardship and they needed to be supported. With no tournaments held, they have lost their livelihood. The AICF can organise online prize money tournaments, he suggested.

The CPF in a letter to Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju earlier said: “We found two issues of concern from the perspective of chess players: 1) the Code of Conduct for players as mentioned in the Constitution of the All India Chess Federation (AICF) and (2) non-inclusion of prominent chess players of the country in the management of AICF to a minimum of 25 per cent of the total strength with voting rights, as stipulated in the Sports Code.”

(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at [email protected])

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