Amid controversy, WFI polls on May 7

Vinayak Padmadeo

New Delhi, April 17

The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is exceedingly confident that there will be no hitch in its functioning amidst the sexual harassment and financial irregularity charge against its office bearers.

Following this viewpoint the WFI has announced the election schedule of the new body even when the Sports Ministry’s decision on the recommendations given by the Oversight Committee is still awaited. Further, the WFI has written to both the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the ministry to send its observer for the election.

In a circular dated April 16, the WFI announced that the elections for the new executive body will be held on May 7. After several prominent wrestlers accused president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexually abusing female wrestlers, the Sports Ministry appointed a committee under the chairmanship of MC Mary Kom to probe the allegations. It is understood that the report is with Sports Minister Anurag Thakur and the ministry will only announce the decision based on the recommendations of the seven-member committee that also includes Yogeshwar Dutt, Trupti Murgunde, Radhica Sreeman, Commander (Retd) Rajesh Rajagopalan and Babita Phogat.

Despite several attempts, the Sports Minister was unavailable for comments. A WFI source told The Tribune that holding an election was a routine matter.

“Our election has been due since February so it had to be done and I do not see a problem in it,” the source said.

“The decision can come anytime as it is their prerogative but the fact remains we had to hold our elections latest by March and it had to be postponed because of the complaints,” he added.

Brij Bhushan took over for the third time in February 2019 and is ineligible to contest. While there is speculation that his son, Karan, who is also a vice-president in the current executive, will be elevated to the top post, there is a chance that he may not contest. Justice (retd) RB Mishra has been appointed as the Returning Officer and nominations will be filed on April 29 and 30.

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