With the court refusing to issue a stay order, the Badminton Association of India will hold its elections tomorrow in which former cricketer Mohd Azharuddin faces the tough challenge of unseating the long-serving V K Verma as the body's President.
The Azharuddin camp had approached the sessions court in Andhra Pradesh's Rangareddy district seeking a stay on the election but their plea was rejected after a three-hour argument.
Azharuddin's candidature has raised quite a furore with Verma initially claiming that the ex-captain was 'ineligible' to contest as he was serving a life ban for alleged match-fixing.
Azharuddin has countered that he has challenged the ban and since the matter is sub-judice, he is free to challenge Verma, who has been at the helm for 12 years.
The Sports Ministry too has had its say on the matter. It accused BAI of not informing about the elections as is required by norms.
It later appointed an observer, Deepika Kacchal, for the elections despite vehement opposition from BAI, which says the Ministry was trying to prop up Azharuddin.
But Verma is confident about getting a fourth term.
"All the delegates coming from across the country for Sunday's election are elated and set to elect me unanimously again," Verma said.
The BAI President said his victory was a mere formality as he had the backing of nearly all of the 34 voting units.
The BAI President stuck to his decision to seek a re-election even though it is in violation of the recent Sports Ministry regulation that fixed the term of federation presidents to 12 years at the most.
"The government guidelines come into play if you are seeking financial assistance from it," Verma said, claiming BAI had now become self-sufficient.
"We have signed contracts with various sponsors to generate Rs four crore annually. So, we will not be requiring any financial assistance from the government," he said.