The president of the Assam Badminton Association, Himanta Biswa Sarma, is set to become the acting head of the Badminton Association of India, when its executive committee meets here on Sunday.
Following the demise of BAI chief Akhilesh Das Gupta earlier this month, a shakeup in the game’s governing body is on the cards, and the executive committee meeting is most likely to give its nod to Sarma as its next chief.
Das Gupta’s only son and newly-elected chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Badminton Association, Viraj Das, is also expected to be inducted as one of the 13 vice-presidents.
Sarma, an influential BJP leader from North-East, is Assam’s health minister, and his interest for the sport is well-known.
“He (Sarma) is a capable leader. We don’t want to have groups within the BAI and I would like the BAI to run like a family,” a senior BAI official told HT on condition of anonymity.
“Our aim is to see Indian badminton flourish with shuttlers winning medals,” he added. Soon after Akhilesh Das’s death, speculation was rife that Sarma would be the next BAI chief, and even top shuttlers like Jwala Gutta, Ashwini Ponnappa and Parupalli Kashyap had good things to say about him on Twitter.”
Confirming about the meeting on Sunday, BAI secretary-general Anup Narang said having an acting president to run the show till July 2018 was a must.
“We need somebody to run the show till July 2018. We are facing problems managing bank accounts and procuring visas for players,” said Narang.
He said that as per the BAI constitution, the AGM can only be called by the next president till March 2018. “Calling the AGM will be the president’s discretions,” he added.