The Wrestling Federation of India elections was rescheduled from July 6 to July 11, delaying the whole process by 5 days, as per an official release. The results will be announced on the same day after the counting of votes. This comes following hearing into pleas made by disaffiliated state units by the IOA adhoc panel.
Each state and union territory can forward two nominations and each representative will have a vote. The last date for receiving the two nominations from each unit is June 25. Scrutiny of nomination papers by the returning officer will be done by July 4. Polling will be held from 11 am to 1:20 pm on July 11 and counting will start at 1:30 pm.
The elections are significant because sports minister Anurag Thakur had promised the protesting wrestlers that no family member of outgoing president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh will be allowed to contest the polls. Some of India’s top wrestlers, including Olympic medallists Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia, have been demanding the arrest of Brij Bhushan, who has been accused of sexual harassment. Only after assurances from the sports minister, including the promise of a chargesheet by June 15, did the wrestlers put their protest on hold.
Brij Bhushan’s son Karan was vice-president in the previous WFI set-up and is also associated with the Uttar Pradesh Wrestling Association. His son-in-law Vishal Singh is the president of the Bihar Wrestling Association.
Having completed 12 years as WFI president, Singh is not in the fray for another term because of the tenure cap imposed by the National Sports Code.
“Former president Singh, who has completed three terms, and those close to him, should not be elected, the wrestlers had demanded,” Thakur had said after a meeting with the protesting wrestlers last week.
The government had also assured the protesting wrestlers — Bajrang, Sakshi and world championship medallist Vinesh Phogat – that their opinion would be considered in deciding who occupies the key posts of president, general secretary and treasurer.
Elections will be held for 15 posts — one president, one senior vice-president, four vice-presidents, one secretary general, one treasurer, two joint secretaries and five executive committee members.