Raninder Singh re-elected as the president of NRAI for the fourth time
Raninder Singh beat BSP MP Shyam Singh Yadav 56-3 in the election to be re-elected as the NRAI president for an unprecedented fourth term
Seasoned administrator Raninder Singh was on Saturday re-elected as the president of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) for an unprecedented fourth term after he beat BSP MP Shyam Singh Yadav 56-3 in the elections. Kanwar Sultan Singh was elected unopposed as the secretary general of the national shooting body, while Randeep Mann has been made the treasurer. Odisha MP Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo will continue to be the federation's senior vice-president besides the eight vice-presidents. Pawan Kumar Singh will remain the apex body's joint secretary alongside Sheila Kanungo after both were elected unopposed to the post.
The general body election of the NRAI had representation from 59 of its members, out of whom 56 voted in favour of Raninder, while 3 votes were cast in favour of his opponent Yadav, who is the president of the Uttar Pradesh State Rifle Association. The NRAI decided to go ahead with the polls despite the impediments it faced after the petition filed by challenger Yadav in the Delhi High Court, followed by the sports ministry's directive to initiate elections afresh. Yadav is a Lok Sabha MP from UP's Jaunpur constituency. However, the NRAI went ahead with the elections as scheduled, as there was no stay order on it from the court. The matter is pending with the Delhi High Court with the next date scheduled in December. The elections were held at the IS Bindra Stadium.
In his petition, Yadav cited "perceptible conflict of interest" in the appointment of the returning officer for the polls, Mehtab Singh Gill. Acting on his petition, the ministry also looked into the objections raised by Yadav regarding Raninder's tenure but found the incumbent to have a legitimate claim at re-election. The national sports code, 2011, states: "The president of any recognised NSF, including the IOA, can hold the office for a maximum of 12 years, with or without a break." Going by the technicalities, Raninder entered the polls as a valid candidate as he will complete 12 years in the post at the end of 2022. Raninder said, "This election was not about the chair but about its basic capability to be autonomous, yet at the same time not be violative of a National Sports Code we genuinely welcome and voluntarily follow.
"Indeed, the strength the code provides us, has and will continue to support us in presenting clarity and strength to discharge our duty to the sport and its athletes. But more importantly, not allow shadowy mentors of dubious challengers to politicise." Nonetheless, he was "honoured and humbled" that the members have "reposed faith" in his leadership. "Together we have achieved a lot for Indian shooting and the time has now come to take it to another level," he added. A total of eight vice-presidents were elected which included Ajay H. Patel, Amit Sanghi, Ashok J.Pandit, Ashok Mittal, John Kharshiing, Putul Kumari, Sushma Singh and Verinder Kumar Dhall.
For the post of honourary secretary, Susheel, Ishwar Rohal, Kumar Tripurari Singh, Meghasham Shripad Bhangle, Moirangthem R. Singh and R.Ravikrishnan were also elected unopposed. A total of 16 governing body members were also elected. The elections were conducted by Returning Officer Justice (retd) Mehtab Singh Gill as well as Additional Returning Officer Justice (retd) Inderjeet Singh Walia. Chander Mukhi Sharma, the secretary general of the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) was present as the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) observer while Athletics Federation of India president Adille J Sumariwalla was present as the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) observer.
Former world No.1 trap shooter and Olympian Ronjan Sodhi was also a part of the election process as an "eminent sportsperson observer". Speaking after the declaration of the election results, the new secretary general Kanwar Sultan Singh said, "I am thankful to the members of the NRAI general body for entrusting me with the responsibility of carrying forward the federation's vision of taking the sport shooting to new horizons. "Our next goal is to analyse the unexpected Tokyo 2020 performances and learn from them in order to create a roadmap for Paris 2024." Raninder became the president of the NRAI for the first time in 2010.