The Gauhati High Court on Sunday stayed the July 11 elections in response to a petition filed by the Assam Wrestling Association, stalling the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) elections once more.
In a petition filed against the WFI, the IOA ad hoc panel, and the Sports Ministry, the Assam Wrestling Association claimed that despite having the right to be an associated member of the WFI, recognition had not been given.
The state unit alleged that on November 15, 2014, at the Federations’ General Council in Gonda, the then-WFI Executive Committee had recommended its affiliation but it had been rejected.
The IOA ad hoc commission set June 25 as the deadline for submitting names to the electoral college, and July 11 as the date for the elections.
The petitioner argued that the election process ought to be put on hold until their organisation joined the WFI and had the ability to choose their representative in the electoral college.
The court ordered the respondents—the WFI ad hoc body and the Sports Ministry—to postpone the election of the WFI Executive Committee until the next date for hearing is set.
The next hearing date has been set by the court for July 17.
“Really? So, did they sleep through WFI’s 2015 and 2019 elections? Why did they approach the Court at this time? Can’t you guys detect that something is off about this place? The WFI elections are being influenced by someone. It’s obvious,” a representative of the prior WFI structure said.
Actually, Assam was merely a non-voting associate member. If it had an issue with it, the official continued, “why did they not try to contact the court back in 2015?
The Assam Wrestling Association (AWA) claimed in its appeal that it has conducted numerous national and state-level tournaments at the “behest” of the WFI and was “actively involved” in promoting wrestling in the state.
The state association claimed in its appeal that it made “several efforts” to be recognised but was unsuccessful.
According to AWA, they won’t be allowed to nominate their delegate to the electoral college for the future elections until they receive affiliation from the parent body.
According to the petition, Assam’s wrestlers won’t be able to compete in national competitions and the state won’t have a representation to vote in the WFI’s executive committee election.
The WFI had selected May 7 as the election date before it was suspended by the Sports Ministry. After meeting with protesting wrestlers, Sports Minister Anurag Thakur stated that WFI elections would take place on June 30.
Elections were then scheduled to take place on July 4, but the Returning Officer changed that to July 6.
However, the Returning Officer again postponed the polls by five days, setting the election day for July 11 after five disaffiliated state entities asserted their eligibility for voting.