NEW DELHI ~ The power tussle between the Punjab government and the Congress has found its way into elections of the National Rifle Association of India in Delhi.
Polls have been held over the past four months to elect the general body of the association. Some members seem to have aimed their guns at current president, Raninder Singh, who was contesting the elections for the third time. A trap shooter, Raninder is the son of Punjab Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh, who is also known as the Maharaja of Patiala.
This time, Raninder was up against Punjab’s Revenue Minister Bikram Majithia, a member of the ruling party in Punjab, the Shiromani Akali Dal. Majithia is also the nephew of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.
Majithia allegedly used the state machinery and police to hinder Raninder from winning a third consecutive time. Majithia still lost in the first phase of polling on 4 March, when Raninder won 517 out of 843 votes to nominate members of the general body. Raninder’s nomination was then contested in the Delhi High Court by Majithia’s allies in the association. On 5 April, the court ruled against the petition and Raninder became president of the association and nominated members of the general body on 6 April.
However, despite having Majithia out of the way, Raninder, popularly known as Tikku, has again not been able to resume office due to a petition filed by Athens Olympics silver medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore in the Delhi High Court, alleging a violation of India’s Sports Code. Rathore, who was excluded from the national squad for the London Olympics, has said that the elections were not held in a fair way. Raninder, he argued, shouldn’t have been allowed to stand for the president’s post as he was also the returning officer for the election. While both parties preferred to keep mum on the issue, Rajeev Bhatia, nominated secretary of the association, says the matter will be heard next month. Till then, none of the elected members can hold office.▪