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Randhir pulls out of the race

New Delhi: In yet another twist to the controversy marred Indian Olympic Association (IOA) elections, Randhir Singh withdrew his nomination for the post of president on Sunday, saying it would not be right for him to participate in polls that won’t be held as per Olympic Charter.

Currently the IOA secretary general, Randhir was pitted against Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) chairman Abhay Singh Chautala for the top post on December 5. Chautala is being backed by tainted Commonwealth Games official Suresh Kalmadi.

There is a possibility that Volleyball Federation of India (VFI) president K Murugan, who is a candidate for the post of secretary general from the Randhir Singh led group, might also withdraw from the contest leaving another tainted CWG official Lalit Bhanot as the lone candidate.

Some of the national sports federations (NSFs) and state Olympic associations may also stay away from the elections, sources said.

Though the withdrawal of Randhir effectively cleared the decks for Chautala to be elected the president unopposed on December 5, the entire process of elections might prove meaningless in case International Olympic Committee (IOC) sticks to its stance of suspending IOA if it doesn’t hold elections as per Olympic Charter.

While Randhir said he would not participate in an election that would not be held as per the Olympic Charter, his detractors said the veteran sports administrator was looking for an escape route to avoid certain defeat.

The secretary general of the IOA for the past 24 years, Randhir has also been accused by the Chautala group of repeatedly trying to stall the elections.

Randhir is also the secretary general of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and International Olympic Council (IOC) member. “There is no point in holding the elections and creating a rift in the Olympic committee. Let’s sit together with the ministry, solve the problem and then hold elections,” said Randhir after withdrawing his nomination.