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Suspense over electoral college for AICF polls to end soon

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By Venkatachari Jagannathan

Chennai, Dec 10 (IANS) The suspense on the final electoral college to elect the new office-bearers of the All India Chess Federation (AICF) is expected to end soon, said chess officials.

“The returning officer (RO) for the polls, retired justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court R. Kannan, heard the various objections raised by the different parties on Thursday,” Sanjay Chadha, advocate for AICF Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan, told IANS.

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“The RO heard the objections raised by the opposite camp. His order on the electoral college is expected soon,” Vijay Deshpande, Secretary, All Marathi Chess Association, told IANS.

The AICF is split into two factions – one headed by former President P.R. Venketrama Raja and the other by Chauhan. As per a recent Madras High Court order, Chauhan is the Secretary only for signing AICF cheques. Both the factions had put forth their arguments for and against the changes in the electoral college before the RO.

While the Chauhan camp wants a new electoral college to be drawn up, the Raja camp is against that.

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“Objections were raised against the voting right of Telangana State Chess Association President A. Narasimha Reddy as he is also the President of that state’s Table Tennis Association. A person cannot hold two posts,” Chadha said.

Objections were also raised against the voting rights for several state chess associations, including Andaman Nicobar Chess Association, All Rajaputna Chess Association, Bengal Chess Association, Andhra Pradesh Chess Association, Himachal Pradesh State Chess Association and All Marathi Chess Association, on various grounds like not being recognised by the respective state governments, financial impropriety, state associations not holding elections and other issues, Chadha said.

“Our contention is that there is no need to change the electoral college. We want the old electoral college and there is no question of a new voter list. We are sure the returning officer will accept our argument,” Deshpande said.

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The old electoral college was drawn up for the February 2020 elections.

At that time, the then returning officer, retired Supreme Court judge Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla, had rejected the electoral nomination of 23 contestants — including that of incumbent President Raja and several others, as they did not file their nominations in person.

Kalifulla accepted only five nominations as valid — all belonging to Raja’s rival camp led by Chauhan and Gujarat State Chess Association President Ajay H. Patel.

The matter then went to the Madras High Court which in turn had appointed a new RO to conduct the AICF elections.

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

–IANS

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