The ad-hoc committee appointed by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to oversee the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) elections, on Monday has announced that it would hold a hearing on June 21 for five state bodies involved in the controversy. Furthermore, they have extended the deadline for receiving nominations to form the electoral college by two days.
The deadline for the state bodies to submit names for the electoral college was initially June 19. However, the scheduled hearing has resulted in pushing the deadline to June 21. The five disaffiliated units from Maharashtra, Telangana, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, and Rajasthan have recently approached the ad-hoc panel. They have asserted their eligibility to nominate members for the electoral college and participate in the upcoming WFI elections on July 6. To shed light on the situation, VM Prasood, the outgoing WFI secretary general, will be present during the hearing.
In a separate development, disaffiliated units from Assam, Tripura, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh have also submitted pleas to the ad-hoc panel. However, the committee has found no merit in their representations.
Notably, the WFI dissolved the state units of Haryana and Maharashtra during its Annual General Meeting in June 2022 and subsequently organized fresh elections to establish new bodies. The Maharashtra unit, led by Sharad Pawar of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), challenged this decision in the Bombay High Court, which deemed the dissolution of the state body as “illegal” and nullified the July 31 elections.
WFI officials confirmed the dissolution of the Haryana body, led by Congress leader Deepender Hooda, due to the office bearers exceeding term limits, lack of activity, and failure to organize competitions. In 2019, the court mandated elections for the Himachal Pradesh body, with fresh elections scheduled for January. However, wrestlers protest against WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh prevented the elections.
Most state bodies have reportedly already submitted the names of their members for the electoral college. President Olympian Jai Prakash and General Secretary Ramesh Pehalwan will represent the Delhi Amateur Wrestling Association, highlighting their notable presence.