11 Aug 2023

WFI Elections-2023: Punjab and Haryana High Court stays Wrestling Federation of India Elections


Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has stayed the elections of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) till August 28. The High Court has given the stay on the petition of Haryana Wrestling Association (HWA). Federation elections were to be held tomorrow i.e. on 12th August.

HWA alleges that instead of them, another association has been allowed to participate in this election. HWA said they are affiliated with the WFI and the Haryana Olympic Association.

All eyes are on elections

All eyes are on these elections following allegations of sexual harassment of female wrestlers against former president of WFI and BJP MP Brij Bhushan. Wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Sangeeta Phogat had made the allegations.

HWA said they are entitled to participate in election

Advocate Ravindra Malik, appearing for the Haryana Wrestling Association (HWA), led by Congress MP Deepender Hooda, said that their organization is registered in Haryana. It is recognized by WFI. As per WFI constitution and rules any recognized body can send 2 members to vote in WFI elections.

Haryana Amateur Wrestling Association refutes HWA's claim

On the other hand, Haryana Amateur Wrestling Association claimed that their organization is recognized by WFI and Haryana Olympic Association. This association claimed that Deepender Hooda's Haryana Wrestling Association is not affiliated to WFI, so they cannot participate in WFI elections.

HWA challenged the decision of Returning Officer in HC

The Returning Officer gave the decision in favor of Haryana Amateur Wrestling Association. After this HWA challenged this decision in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. HWA said that Haryana Amateur Wrestling Association may be recognized by WFI but it is not affiliated with Haryana Olympic Association. This means that this organization cannot participate in the elections of WFI.

HC said- Haryana Amateur Wrestling Association is not eligible

Advocate Malik argued in the High Court that if the Haryana Amateur Wrestling Association is allowed to participate in the WFI elections, it would render the WFI elections invalid. High Court Justice Vinod S Bhardwaj said that prima facie it seems that Haryana Amateur Wrestling Association is not eligible to vote. After which stay was granted.

Names of final candidates were released 

The final list of WFI candidates was released on Monday. For the post of president, a fight can be seen between 2010 Commonwealth Games champion Anita Sheoran and Sanjay Singh. Sanjay Singh is believed to be close to Brij Bhushan, while Anita Sheoran is a witness against Brij Bhushan in the case of sexual harassment of female wrestlers. Anita Sheoran, a resident of Bhiwani, was the only woman candidate in the elections to be held on August 12.

Brij Bhushan's close aide Sanjay Singh and Haryana's Anita Sheoran are contesting for the post of new WFI president.

Veteran Kartar Singh Vice President Candidate

Veteran wrestler Kartar Singh is among the five candidates who are seeking to become the Vice President of the Wrestling Federation of India. Kartar, who won gold medals in Bangkok (1978) and Seoul (1986), has previously served as the Secretary General of the WFI and has many years of administrative experience.

Besides him, Asit Kumar Saha (Bengal), Jai Prakash (Delhi), Mohan Yadav (Madhya Pradesh) and N Phoni (Manipur) are in the race for the post of vice-president.

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