Ex Maharashtra sports minister Ashish Shelar files nomination for BFI president's post, says will win elections with 70 percent votes

During a media interaction in New Delhi, Shelar said that he and his team had met virtually every state unit in the run-up to the much-delayed elections and have noted their dissatisfaction with the current dispensation headed by Ajay Singh.

Press Trust of India January 21, 2021 19:13:10 IST
Ex Maharashtra sports minister Ashish Shelar files nomination for BFI president's post, says will win elections with 70 percent votes

New Delhi: Former Maharashtra sports minister Ashish Shelar on Thursday filed his nomination for the Boxing Federation of India president's post and expressed confidence about sweeping the BFI elections on 3 February.

During a media interaction in New Delhi, Shelar said that he and his team had met virtually every state unit in the run-up to the much-delayed elections and have noted their dissatisfaction with the current dispensation headed by Ajay Singh.

"We are going to win the BFI elections by garnering over 70 percent of the votes," Shelar said in response to a query.

"I have personally interacted with almost every state unit and have learnt that the current dispensation in BFI under Ajay Singh had made many promises before coming to power but has delivered very little," he added.

Shelar said he would usher in a new dawn in Indian boxing.

"The federation itself has been run in an autocratic manner, with the state units being completely ignored, which has been a huge setback for Indian boxing at the grassroots level.

"The financial situation of the BFI is also very delicate due to gross mismanagement and lack of vision which requires urgent attention," he said.

Shelar, who has held many top positions in sport, including as president of Maharashtra Cricket Association and Mumbai District Football Association, said that Singh and his team were desperately trying to cling on to power and even rigging the Electoral College list through the Returning Officer.

"The Delhi High Court had ruled that only the President or Secretary can finalise the voters' list. Despite that, the RO has taken decisions on at least three states without having any power to do so, which are, as you can imagine, detrimental to us," he said.

Secretary general of BFI Jay Kowli said that he was unhappy with the way the federation had been functioning.

"It was being run out of the Spicejet office in Gurugram in a dictatorial manner. None of us were ever taken into confidence and nothing has been done to promote and nurture boxing at the grassroots level," he said.

"I had been voicing my dissent against all this but without any effect. I am convinced that another spell by this team can ruin boxing. Something as basic as holding junior level national tournaments has not been done in the last four years.

"That is why I decided to support somebody who has the welfare of the sport and the boxers in his heart," Kowli said.

Shelar also conveyed his disappointment at the way the elections had been postponed in December 2020 citing COVID-19 , after the entire process had been initiated.

"So many sports federations, even Bihar polls for the Assembly, were held despite the pandemic. But Ajay Singh postponed the BFI polls at the last moment as he realised that he would lose. Sadly for him, we are even better prepared now," he said.

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