Indian basketball looks to be compensating for not being in the news for many years. Despite the cricket World Cup keeping every Indian glued to the fortunes of the Indian side, some newspapers have been able to provide the big headlines to the ongoing imbroglio.
With the Indian cricket team literally bleeding blue in Sydney in the semifinals on Thursday, some of the country's sporting concern is expected to be diverted towards the Annual General Meeting of the Basketball Federation of India (BFI), scheduled to be held in Bengaluru on March 27.
Normally, the AGM is a routine affair and does not generate much interest. However, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the BFI, Roopam Sharma, has provided an unexpected twist by calling an AGM in Pune on March 28. Since, the CEO has been handling a lot of resources over the last three years, thanks to the benevolence of Reliance, a lot of people have thoughtfully sided with her.
However, the president of BFI, Rajdeep Singh Gill, is the Constitutional authority of the BFI, especially in terms of calling the AGM or in the more serious business of conducting the election.
The Union Sports Ministry_which incidentally has not granted annual recognition for BFI for 2015 as the federation had failed to amend its Constitution by incorporating the age and tenure class for the office bearers_has nominated Satyajit Sankrit as the government observer for the meeting in Bengaluru.
The International basketball federation, FIBA, has also appointed Mageshwaran Saba as the observer for the meeting in Bengaluru.
In a letter from Beirut, the FIBA regional director for Asia, Hagop Khajirian has conveyed that Saba would attend the meeting as an observer, and has intimated the same to the president of FIBA Asia, Saud Bin Ali Al-Thani.
The BFI president has already quoted the Constitution of the federation as well as the government guidelines in the form of Sports Code 2011, in emphasising that the CEO had no authority to appoint a Returning Officer or call a meeting in Pune on March 28. So, that meeting has already been labeled as `illegal'.
Only 44 names of the State and unit representatives were sent for the meeting in Bengaluru and that will serve as the electoral college.
The nominations for the various posts are as follows:
Presidnet : K. Govindaraj; Senior Vice president: Teja Singh Dhaliwal; Vice-presidents: Ajay Sud, Dr. DR Saini, Shafiq Sheikh, Bhupendra Shahi, L. Suren; Secretary general: Chander Mukhi Sharma; Associate secretaries: Shakti Sinh Gohil, Jugraj Singh, Gautam Ganguly, Fr. Ralin De Souza, T. Chandalraya Naidu; Treasurer: V. Ragothaman; Executive members: Manish Sharma, Ashley Do Rosario, TA Andrapathi, TVSN Prasad, Norman Isaac and Dr. Prakash Paquiaraj Sandou.
Indeed, it is a fair argument that the president was not in a position to accept nominations for the meeting in Pune, which was called without his consent as declared by the secretary general Ajay Sud, who had since resigned on moral grounds.
Ironically, as part of the amendments of the Constitution which was proposed months earlier, the BFI will remove the posts of CEO and deputy CEO. Only two CEOs, but poles apart in terms of how they executed their job for the welfare of the players.
It may be unfair to blame one person for all the ills of the BFI, but Harish Sharma, for whom the CEO post was created, was too much of an angel, and it was tough for anyone, to follow his foot steps, including his wife.
In the present context, it is indeed a very clear case of the CEO getting carried away by the power and financial clout, and being tempted to acquire the political influence, in her earnest attempt to hijack the federation.
Thus, it may eventually be proven to everyone that it is after all not a number game. For, numbers often do not tell the truth.