New Delhi, Jan.24: The postponement of Hockey India (HI) elections for the third time has sparked off a blame game Sunday with former captain and Hockey Punjab secretary Pargat Singh accusing Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Suresh Kalmadi for the mess.
Kalmadi, later, vehemently refuted the charge.
Pargat blasted Kalmadi and said his ambition to head Hockey India has resulted in the HI elections being repeatedly deferred.
Pargat also said people like Kalmadi are running a "sports mafia" in the country and HI is not interested in holding the elections because the IOA chief failed to get a nomination from Maharashtra.
Kalmadi denied he was ever involved in HI elections.
"Pargat Singh has made some personal attacks on me, which I totally deny. I am the president of the IOA and chairman of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, which keeps me fully occupied," he said.
"I have no time and interest in taking over Hockey India. I have a duty to perform to ensure that the Commonwealth Games are conducted successfully," Kalmadi said in a statement.
Kalmadi also dismissed Pargat’s remarks that he was made to run around to get affiliation for his state.
Kalmadi said he was responsible for the conduct of the upcoming hockey World Cup "being staged by IOA and International Hockey Federation (FIH) as the joint chairperson of the governing board."
The FIH had repeatedly said an elected HI should be in place before the World Cup, but with the mega event scheduled Feb 28, an elected HI before the World Cup is unlikely.
The HI elections scheduled for Feb 7 were postponed Saturday following a stay order from the Rajasthan High Court over the affiliations granted to state units Jan 11.
"Instead of deferring the elections, they (HI) should have moved an application to get the stay vacated. But HI do not want to hold the elections, even if World Cup does not take place in India ," said Pargat.
"Kalmadi sent his men to me for a negotiation. They said that Punjab will get the affiliation, if you accept Kalmadi as president of HI. I said I don’t want to be part of such trade-off," Pargat claimed.
"People like him are running a sports mafia in the country and we will fight them," said Pargat, who is in fray for a top HI post.
Sports Minister M.S Gill said he has asked his officials to talk to the FIH and discuss the developments.
Gill raised doubts over HI’s electoral college and said that democratically-run state associations were left out of the list.
"There are some state units like Bombay, Madras, Bengal etc that have been in existence for 70-80 years. I don’t believe that all of them are not run democratically. The world hockey body has one-state-one-unit rule, but that does not mean that the names of the old associations are removed," Gill said on the sidelines of the opening of Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.
"The electoral role is the basis of all elections. The list of voters should be circulated and people should know about it. There should be openness in the entire process."