New Delhi [India], January 21 (ANI): Former Maharashtra sports minister and Boxing Federation of India presidential contender Ashish Shelar expressed his confidence about sweeping the BFI elections on February 3 and ushering in a new dawn in Indian boxing.
At a media interaction here on Thursday, Shelar revealed that he and his team had met virtually every state unit in the run-up to the much-delayed elections and have noted their dissatisfaction and anger.
"We are going to win the BFI elections by garnering over 70 per cent of the votes," Shelar said.
"I have personally interacted with almost every state unit and have learnt that the current dispensation in BFI under Ajay Singh had made many promises before coming to power but has delivered very little," he added, just before filing his nomination papers for the president's post.
"The federation itself has been run in an autocratic manner, with the state units being completely ignored, which has been a huge setback for Indian boxing at the grassroots level. The financial situation of the BFI is also very delicate due to gross mismanagement and lack of vision which requires urgent attention," he said.
Shelar, who has held many top positions in sport, including the role of president of Maharashtra Cricket Association and Mumbai District Football Association, charged that Ajay Singh and his men were desperately trying to cling to power, even rigging the Electoral College list through the Returning Officer.
"The Delhi High Court had ruled that only the President or Secretary can finalise the voters' list. Despite that, the RO has taken decisions on at least three states without having any power to do so, which are, as you can imagine, detrimental to us," he revealed.
Secretary-general of BFI Jay Kowli confirmed that he, like most others in the federation, was most unhappy with the way the BFI had been functioning. "It was being run out of the Spicejet office in Gurugram in a dictatorial manner. None of us were ever taken into confidence and nothing has been done to promote and nurture boxing at the grassroots level.
"I had been voicing my dissent against all this but without any effect. I am convinced that another spell by this team can ruin boxing. Something as basic as holding junior level national tournaments has not been done in the last four years. That is why I decided to support somebody who has the welfare of the sport and the boxers in his heart," Kowli said. (ANI)