The IOA ad-hoc panel on Wednesday rescheduled the WFI elections to July 11 after five disaffiliated state bodies, seeking voting rights for the polls, presented their cases in a hearing.
The ad-hoc panel was approached by disaffiliated state bodies from Maharashtra, Haryana, Telangana, Rajasthan, and Himachal Pradesh, claiming that their dismissal was not appropriate.
The panel had called these units for a hearing on Wednesday. Retired High Court judge Mahesh Mittal Kumar who is the Returning Officer for the polls heard their pleas.
The ad-hoc panel had earlier announced that WFI elections will be held on July 6. "The state units presented their cases while the representatives of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) provided the papers related to their affiliation cancellations. The panel needs time to decide and prepare the order, so polls have been pushed by five days to July 11," a source privy to the developments told PTI.
"The representatives of rival factions sat across and presented their cases. Outgoing secretary general VN Prasood put before the panel all the relevant papers," the source added.
The WFI had disbanded these state bodies over a period of time. Haryana and Maharashtra were dismissed at its AGM in June 2022. According to sources, the disbanded Haryana unit was represented by R K Hooda, who was accompanied by a lawyer while the affiliated unit was fronted by President Rohtash Singh.
Maharashtra's rival faction was led by Balasaheb Landge and his son Lalit Landge while current secretary Yogesh Dodke represented the affiliated body. The NCP chief Sharad Pawar-led Maharashtra body had approached the High Court last year after its dismissal and got a favourable judgment.
"The case of Telangana was bizarre. In the hearing, it came to light that there are 33 districts in the state but the disaffiliated body had invited only nine units for elections. The Returning Officer was appointed on September 27 but he issued the election schedule on September 26, a day before his appointment. How is that possible? All these issues came before Justice MM Kumar," the source explained.
Rajasthan's rival faction, led by 86-year-old IK Dutta claimed to be the original body on the basis of recognition granted by the state's Sports Council. Umaid Singh, the current President, presented the case of the elected body.
"The case of Himachal Pradesh rival unit was weakest and it appears that the ad-hoc panel has not found any merit in their case," the source said. In the wake of rescheduled elections, the dates of nominations, scrutiny, and withdrawal of nominations are also likely to change.