No sport in India is free from interference of politicians. Indian sports have become the rehabilitation asylum for politicians and retired bureaucrats. For them chairing an apex body of any sport is all about power, money and publicity. The main purpose of the apex body like talent haunt, providing adequate and modern training to the players, grooming next generation players, and development of sports infrastructure are the second or perhaps the last priority for these bosses. Here are some of the Indian Marathon Politicians who have run Indian sports organizations for years.
10. Vijay Kumar Malhotra- 41 years – Archery Association of India Age
: 83 years Political Party
: Bhartiya Janata Party AAI came into existence on 8 August 1973 after archery was reintroduced to the Olympic Games in 1972. V.K. Malhotra has been at the helm as President of the Archery Association of India (AAI) since 1973. As such, he falls foul of the Sports Ministry’s age and tenure guidelines. So, when he won the federation’s presidential elections once again in 2012, the government promptly de-recognized AAI.
9. Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi – 20 years – Football Federation of India Age
: 70 years Political Party:
Indian National Congress Former cabinet minister and Congress leader Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi was the head of All India Football Federation for 20 long years and was finally replaced only in 2008 (by Praful Patel of the Nationalist Congress Party) only after he suffered a stroke that left him in coma.
8. Jagdish Tytler – 27 years – Judo Federation of India Age
: 71 years Political Party
: Indian National Congress Only in India is it possible that a person accused of inciting communal riots could be treated as a senior sports administrator. But Jagdish Tytler, who ruled the Judo Federation of India for 27 years, is just that. Tytler will turn 70 next year and so will be ineligible, according to the sports code, for any future stint as president. During his reign, the Congressman was never challenged for the top post and won every election unopposed. Now, it is his trusted lieutenant Mukesh Kumar, who served as federation secretary under Tytler, who has been elected the new president in elections held last month in Imphal.
7. Suresh Kalmadi – 16 years – Indian Olympic Association Age:
71 years Political party:
Indian National Congress He is one of the most (in) famous politicians linked to the Indian Olympic Association. Suresh Kalmadi had served IOA as president for 16 years when he was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation in April 2011 over allegations of corruption in organising the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and had to relinquish his post. Currently he is in Tihar Jail.
5. Ajay and Abhay Singh Chautala – Various sports associations. Ajay’s age:
53 years Abhay’s age:
: INLD Abhay Chautala, recently thrown out as president of IOA, was president of the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF). He was replaced at the IABF by his brother-in-law, Abhishek Matoria, a BJP MLA from Rajasthan. This guaranteed Chautala the IABF vote in the IOA election. Matoria and the IABF executive council then manipulated the federation’s constitution and made Chautala the chairman of the IABF, thereby institutionalising his hold. That apart, Chautala’s brother, Ajay Chautala, also voted for him in his capacity as the president of the Table Tennis Federation of India. Ajay and Abhay Chautala are sons of Om Prakash Chautala, another politician who was the president of IOA for over 10 years. Abhay is currently in Tihar jail for Recruitment scam (along with his father) and CWG scam.
4. Yashwant Sinha – 12 years – All India Tennis Association Age
: 77 years Political party
: Bharatiya Janta Party Yashwant Sinha was suddenly made president of the All India Tennis Association in the year 2000, because then secretary R.K. Khanna, the father of present secretary Anil Khanna, was said to be “comfortable” with him. He was de-thrown as president only after the new Age and tenure rules pitched in from the government.
3. Vidya Stokes – 26 years – Women’s Hockey Association. Age:
86 years Political party:
Indian National Congress Vidya Stokes raised eyebrows when she defeated Pargat Singh, an Olympian, to become the president of Hockey India in August 2010. She has previously been the president of Women’s Hockey Association from 1984 to 2010 – 26 years!
2. Sharad Pawar – 7 years – BCCI and ICC. Age
: 74 years Political party
: Nationalist Congress Party Pawar also served as the Chairman of the Board of Control for Cricket in India from 2005 to 2008 and as the president of the International Cricket Council from 2010 to 2012 Even the mighty BCCI power broker and Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar started his ascent towards controlling cricket in India through these rural sports in 2005. When asked by a newspaper journal why he was interested in a cricket body at the time, he said, “You forget. I began by being president of the kho-kho and kabaddi associations. I have always been interested in sports.”
1. N. Ramachandran – (multiple sports associations). Age
: 71 years Political party
: MDMK Even more interesting is the case of N Ramachandran, President of the World Squash Federation (WSF), current President of Indian Olympic Association, Vice-president of the Indian Triathlon Federation (his wife is the president). Ramachandran is also President of the Tamil Nadu Cycling Association and the Tamil Nadu Squash Rackets Association (TNSRA) as well as Vice-president of the Tamil Nadu Olympic Association. He is the younger brother of the BCCI Chief N. Srinivasan. Guess it’s all in the blood, huh? Today, with foreign coaches and various leagues, India is progressing in each and every sport but it might never be enough if these politicians keep on being the spoilsport of the game. Now is the right time for experienced and concerned people to take care of the management of the sports rather than the politicians who use this stage as a platform to make a mark in the game of power and money.