Indian hockey's theatre of the absurd plays on. On Wednesday, the KPS Gill faction of the now dissolved Indian Hockey Federation, which claims it is legal despite being disbanded by the Indian Olympic Association, had a meeting here. The reason: to ratify accounts of the past three years. Interestingly, the 'treasurer', JN Tyagi, himself did not attend.
Yet another point on the agenda was to adopt the secretary-general's report. But, unfortunately, the "legal" IHF has not had a secretary-general for five months, as K. Jothikumaran resigned in the wake of a TV channel's sting operation and allegations of bribery.
Interestingly, much against convention, the call for the meeting (vide letter No. IHF/38/2008 dated Sept 1, in possession of the HT) was signed by "president" KPS Gill himself. As per both IHF constitution and convention, the secretary-general sends the notice for any such meeting.
So what went on in Delhi was, as usual, a one-man show, if it can be called that, because, despite the alleged pressure exerted by the former super cop, a bare dozen stakeholders turned up. Out of the 41 associations and institutions who form the electoral college of the federation, this is hardly a number Gill would have hoped for to regain his sphere of influence in Indian hockey.
The state hockey associations (SHAs) of Haryana, Delhi, Orissa and Hyderabad, besides HP and Tamil Nadu — Gill and Jothikumaran's home base — are believed to be strongly behind the faction. Others present included office bearers of Chandigarh, Punjab, Karnataka and Jharkhand. It is interesting that another set of officer bearers from these same SHAs attended a seminar organised by the Sahara Group in Aamby Valley recently — and pledged their support to JB Roy, who is firmly eyeing the 'IHF' top chair.
Gill's trump card, according to a source who attended the meeting, is "saving the IHF from the Indian Olympic Association". He has also constituted a sub-committee of three members (himself, Pratap Satpati and Chandra Sekhar) to sort out many issues, including tackling the IOA.
How they will manage that will be interesting — after all, Gill's IHF hardly even submits accounts and when it does, it opens up a can of worms. The only document Jothikumaran signed in the last year is the accounts for last year's Asia Cup, which the Tamil Nadu Hockey Association, of which he is secretary.