Guest column: Futility of annual elections at the Chandigarh Golf Club

The victory was a bygone conclusion in the absence of any credible opposition and of course the chronic popularity of Gilly.
The newly elected committee at the golf club should encourage junior golf tournaments, with the vision to produce more Shubhankar Sharmas.(HT File)
The newly elected committee at the golf club should encourage junior golf tournaments, with the vision to produce more Shubhankar Sharmas.(HT File)
Updated on May 05, 2018 11:05 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByCol Avnish Sharma ( Retd)

Gilly, officially known as Birinder Singh Gill, won the recently concluded elections at the Chandigarh Golf Club. The victory was a bygone conclusion in the absence of any credible opposition and of course the chronic popularity of Gilly. His team has done well with 99% success rate.
However, the silver lining was the election of two out of three contestants from the rival group to the management committee. Though Lt Col JS Panag’s defeat was on the cards, his dogged resolve to rock the boat and stand up to a dynastic mindset was laudable. All in all, elections this year lacked excitement for obvious reasons of being a one-sided contest .
One has been a keen observer of activities for the past decade or so , especially of the annual ritual of elections, so a few things stand out quite clearly. Firstly, there are just a handful of members who contest regularly, a pool of contestants who take turns to occupy office. I compare it to our ‘Last minute golf WhatSapp group’ of like-minded golfers who share information on golf fixtures. Although close knitted four-balls (two teams of two players competing directly against each other) are a norm but occasional additions and deletions are welcome. Thus, every year the same group of people more or less have a go at the power circuit, albeit in rotation. Old wine in new bottle syndrome!

Secondly, the contestants and the members get too familiar with each other. You scratch my back and vice versa. This is unhealthy for an institution.
Thirdly, every management committee adds to the aura of the club, the reason why the Chandigarh Golf Club enjoys a good reputation. Thus, the transparency that exists and the noble intentions of the powers that be, preclude any hanky panky. Fourthly, members barring the contestants, view the run-up to elections as a source of enjoyment and the election day as a carnival, which may not be reasons enough for the effort , physical, monetary and organisational, involved to accomplish this strenuous exercise.

Lastly, one year might not be enough to undertake and accomplish projects at the golf course and the clubhouse. Indeed, some of the projects listed in manifestos of the candidates don’t see the light of day due to premature termination of road maps charted for future development. Some construction/renovation works are undertaken in a hurry turning out to be substandard and thus counterproductive.

The prevailing situation of fewer contestants, lack of continuity, infructuous expenditure and effort coupled with good intentions and a sense of stability may throw up a case for elections to be held biannually to start with and then slowly graduate to once in three years.

The present committee comprises competent team members with the indomitable Gilly at the helm. In his manifesto, he has listed two eye catching resolves. Firstly, promotion of golf, especially junior golf, with the vision to produce more Shubhankar Sharmas and Karandeep Kochhars and secondly, to avoid wasteful expenditure. We can do well to make him accomplish the former by giving him ample time and support him in the latter by doing away with yearly elections to avoid wasteful expenditure.

( The writer, an avid golfer, is a member of Chandigarh Golf Club)

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Wednesday, December 08, 2021