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Azhar fires salvo at Verma

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, June 10 (PTI): Projected as an outsider by the ruling camp, cricketer-turned-politician Mohammad Azharuddin today fired a salvo at Badminton Association of India President VK Verma, saying the BAI chief is not eligible for re-election and should gracefully walk away having played a �long innings�.

Azhar referred to the Sports Ministry guidelines which fix the terms of a National Sports Federation president to 12 years and said it�s time to go for Verma, having been at BAI�s helm for as many years.

�Verma has not challenged the validity of the Government guidelines in any court of law and, as such, is bound by the same and ineligible for a re-election,� Azhar told PTI from Hyderabad.

�The government guidelines are binding on all. Even an Indian Olympic Association resolution (rejecting the guidelines) cannot nullify it. It is binding on every federation. Having been a government official himself, Verma should have known it better,� Azhar said.

The Ministry guideline in question has the sports administrators up in arms, claiming it an infringement of their autonomy and the issue has now snowballed into a crisis with the International Olympic Committee set to discuss it later this month.

Verma not only refused to entertain a Government observer for the election but also claimed that BAI had become self-sufficient and would no more require government funding.

In such a backdrop, Sunday�s BAI election in Chennai assumes even more importance and the involvement of Azhar, a former Indian cricket captain and a Congress MP from Moradabad, rendered it quite a high-profile poll for a rather low-profile federation.

The ruling camp questioned Azhar�s eligibility to fight in the BAI election and doesn�t even consider him a serious threat either but the former cricketer, working overtime to canvass support, promised to spring a surprise on Sunday.

�I can tell you that 30 out of the 35 voting units are aggrieved by Verma�s action in his open defiance against the Government of India,� said Azhar, whose seriousness to contest the election could be gauged from the fact that he cut short a parliamentary delegation�s trip to Europe to return home and muster votes.

�Contrary to what others are saying, I�m optimistic about my prospects. I never harbour negative thoughts. I�m essentially a sportsman and I want to do something for badminton�, Azhar quipped.

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Azhar fires salvo at Verma

NEW DELHI, June 10 (PTI): Projected as an outsider by the ruling camp, cricketer-turned-politician Mohammad Azharuddin today fired a salvo at Badminton Association of India President VK Verma, saying the BAI chief is not eligible for re-election and should gracefully walk away having played a �long innings�.

Azhar referred to the Sports Ministry guidelines which fix the terms of a National Sports Federation president to 12 years and said it�s time to go for Verma, having been at BAI�s helm for as many years.

�Verma has not challenged the validity of the Government guidelines in any court of law and, as such, is bound by the same and ineligible for a re-election,� Azhar told PTI from Hyderabad.

�The government guidelines are binding on all. Even an Indian Olympic Association resolution (rejecting the guidelines) cannot nullify it. It is binding on every federation. Having been a government official himself, Verma should have known it better,� Azhar said.

The Ministry guideline in question has the sports administrators up in arms, claiming it an infringement of their autonomy and the issue has now snowballed into a crisis with the International Olympic Committee set to discuss it later this month.

Verma not only refused to entertain a Government observer for the election but also claimed that BAI had become self-sufficient and would no more require government funding.

In such a backdrop, Sunday�s BAI election in Chennai assumes even more importance and the involvement of Azhar, a former Indian cricket captain and a Congress MP from Moradabad, rendered it quite a high-profile poll for a rather low-profile federation.

The ruling camp questioned Azhar�s eligibility to fight in the BAI election and doesn�t even consider him a serious threat either but the former cricketer, working overtime to canvass support, promised to spring a surprise on Sunday.

�I can tell you that 30 out of the 35 voting units are aggrieved by Verma�s action in his open defiance against the Government of India,� said Azhar, whose seriousness to contest the election could be gauged from the fact that he cut short a parliamentary delegation�s trip to Europe to return home and muster votes.

�Contrary to what others are saying, I�m optimistic about my prospects. I never harbour negative thoughts. I�m essentially a sportsman and I want to do something for badminton�, Azhar quipped.