While the popularity of badminton may be on an all-time high, thanks to the exploits of Saina Nehwal, the power struggle between Badminton Association of India president, VK Verma, and secretary, Vijay Sinha, is threatening to split the apex governing body of the sport.
A month after the “united” show of strength in the elections, the two officials have clashed over who would hold the executive authority to run the day-to-day affairs of the association. While Verma wants to hold on to the job he took over after the demise of secretary LC Gupta last year, Sinha says the BAI constitution states that those powers vest with the secretary.
Sinha has even written to the Sports Ministry and the affiliate units to conduct official communication through him, a copy of which is with HT. The tussle has now taken an ugly turn with both parties calling separate Executive Committee meetings of the association. Sinha has called the meeting in Lucknow on July 31, while Verma wants to it in Hyderabad on August 13.
Though the two are yet to circulate the agenda for the meeting, sources in the Verma camp confirmed the possibility of a no-confidence motion against Sinha. The Sinha camp could also move a similar resolution against the incumbent president citing the ministry’s tenure clause.
The ministry has mentioned in its guidelines that no individual can hold the post of president in a National Sports Federation (NSF) beyond 12 years (3 terms). Verma was unanimously elected president for a fourth consecutive term on June 13. He had then announced that BAI would not take financial assistance from the government. However, Sinha has now written to the ministry that the BAI would prefer government’s patronage.
The seeds of discontent were sown at the AGM on June 13 with Verma proposing that the secretary’s post would be rotated between Sinha and two current joint secretaries, Omar Rashid and Punniah Chowdhary. “This was a breach of trust since Sinha had made the arrangements for Verma’s unanimous election,” said a source.