After over a month of spectacle – that saw numerous cocktail parties being thrown at five star hotels to lure voters, allegations and counter allegations being leveled against contestants and daily text messages to members seeking their votes – the Gymkhana club election results were finally declared on Friday midnight.
Vijay Chhibber, a serving secretary in the Union road transport ministry managed to garner a massive 1,045 votes and was elected the club president in a closely contested fight that saw top bureaucrats – serving and retired – from Indian Administrative Service and Indian Police Services locking horns.
Chibber’s nearest rival, retired IPS officer and former chief of India’s spy agency Research & Analysis Wing, AS Dulat got 754 votes.
Former Indian Information Services officer Urmila Gupta’s hope of becoming the first president of the male dominated club was dashed after she managed 216 votes while retired IPS officer BL Vohra came fourth with 169 votes.
In the club’s 100 year history, it was the first time that four candidates were in the fray. Also it was the first time that of out of 5,600 members who have voting rights, 2,254 came to cast their ballot. “It’s a reflection of how intense the fight was,” said Urmila Gupta.
A string of parties at five-star hotels and tony clubs attracted a lot of unwarranted publicity for the “gentleman’s club” as did the mudslinging and allegations, at times personal, leveled by different camps against each other to sway supporters. “It was a typical everything is fair in love and war kind of atmosphere,” said an old time member.
Old timers say this year’s election at the club would be best remembered for its many controversies.