IOA presidential candidate Randhir Singh has questioned the authority of acting chief V K Malhotra to appoint the new chairman of Election Commission for next week's polls following S Y Quraishi's resignation, which has evoked sharp reaction from rival Abhay Singh Chautala's camp.
Randhir has written to Malhotra that he had no mandate to name the replacement of Quraishi who resigned from the chairmanship of the Election Commission yesterday. Quraishi had said his conscience did not allow him to continue after IOA backtracked on its commitment to follow the Sports Code of the government in the elections.
Randhir contended that the mandate given to Malhotra was only to constitute the initial committee and not to name a replacement in case of any resignations.
"As you are aware, the three member Election Commission had been set up by you on the basis of an authorisation vested in you by a special General Body Meeting of IOA held on 18.10.2012. Such Commission was appointed by you and hence the authorisation given to you has now been exhausted having outlived its mandate and life," he wrote in the letter.
Randhir asked Malhotra in the letter to approach the Delhi High Court to seek clarification on the "framework under which the elections are to be held".
Randhir's assertion evoked sharped reaction from Chautala supporters, who said that the IOA Secretary General was trying to delay the elections scheduled to be held on November 25 but now likely to be postponed.
Taekwondo Federation of India President Harish Kumar and Jharkhand Olympic Association President S M Hashmi and Secretary General of Indian Triathlon Federation Rakesh Gupta shot off a letter to Randhir asking him not to stall the election process.
"You were the one to insist on the elections being held before the end of November. You also mentioned during the EC meeting that you will inform of the proceedings that took place on that day to IOC. Now, suddenly you have raised all sorts of objections which is not good for anybody in the IOA, more so to your reputation," Hashmi said in his letter.
Harish Kumar was more scathing in his attack on Randhir, saying the IOA Secretary General was using his international connections, including the IOC, to capture the president's post.