Hockey India president 83- year-old Vidya Stokes tendered her resignation with immediate effect on Wednesday in the Capital.
Being seen as a move to gain government recognition, which had been refuted on the basis of the body flouting the age-limit of 70 years, the ministry now can find itself in a potential fix if HI nominates a member as per the guidelines while rival camp in Indian Hockey Federation conducts a unified election putting both bodies within proper regulations.
Stokes though insists political commitments led her to resign from the post. She had earlier in the year assured sports minister MS Gill that she would head HI only until the Games as matters of the national sport was at stake, though this was not made public. While sources in HI insist this as the primary reason, Stokes says managing the federation as well as politics in her home state of Himachal Pradesh would have been difficult. "I stepped down from the post as my political commitment requires a lot of traveling," she said but added that her age was not an issue at all. "I could have still contributed if I didn't have a lot of my plate."
The veteran Congress leader's resignation was submitted to HI Secretary General Narinder Batra who will now be the acting president till the executive body takes appropriate measures. "The resignation should not come as a surprise to anyone. We will take the necessary measures now and convene a general body meeting," said an HI official.
The ministry earlier in the year had spelt out guidelines for sports federations to follow which included limiting the age of office bearers to below 70. This was the main reason for HI not getting government support despite being recognized by International Hockey Federation (FIH).
With Stokes' exit now, HI can consolidate its claim for government recognition though ministry sources told HT that it was much too early in the day to formulate a plan. "The violation of the age limit guideline no longer exists but much depends on what the HI decides to do hereon," said an official who did not want to be named.