The stand-off between the Badminton Association of India and the Sports Ministry has now become a full-blown war with a defiant BAI pulling out all stops to prevent the appointment of a government observer at its June 13 elections in Chennai.
At loggerheads with the Ministry over its upcoming elections, BAI has become the first National Sports Federation after the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) to claim financial self-sufficiency and refuse government aid.
After the controversy over Ministry's tenure-limitation guidelines started, the Indian Olympic Association -- the parent body of the NSFs -- had refused government funding.
"We are self sufficient. We do not need any funds from the government in future. We have lined up a lot of sponsors," said BAI President V K Verma, who has been in office for the past 12 years and is currently in London .
But despite its refusal to accept government funds in future, it is unclear whether BAI would be able to keep the Ministry at bay come June 13.
"... even if BAI were to be become financially independent, it does not mean that it could treat government as an outsider as sports is a public good and sports development is a public service and therefore, no sports federation can claim that it can act as a private body without public accountability," Joint Secretary (Sports) Injeti Srinivas stated in a letter to Verma.
BAI's opposition notwithstanding, the Ministry has appointed Director (Sports) Deepika Kachhal as the observer for the AGM threatening the body with de-recognition in case of non-compliance with government regulations.
"Please note that Government recognisation to any NSFs is subject to compliance with the Government guidelines for such recognition. It would, therefore, be necessary for you to comply with the government guidelines, which require that a recognised NSF must inform government well in advance about its General Body and other meetings where decisions on important matters are taken, including the elections of office bearers," Srinivas had said in his letter.
The entire drama started after former cricket captain Mohd Azharuddin announced his candidature for the BAI President's post in the upcoming elections.
The candidature of the tainted cricketer, who is serving a life ban for alleged match-fixing, met with strong protest within BAI and at last count 25 state associations were reportedly opposed to it.