The Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) goes to elections tomorrow, Tuesday, December 16. Though clubs across the city have seen elections becoming more high-profile through the years, the RWITC elections continue hitting the headlines with regularity, given the stature of the club, the big names contesting the elections and of course, the Mahalaxmi Racecourse, that green emerald in the heart of SoBo.
Every annual election has raised heat but this one seems to be more fractious than ever. Letters to the RWITC voter base discredit some candidates and are particularly malicious. There are claims and counter claims at press conferences and the election is now sharply divided into two factions, each one accusing the other of huge losses and poor administration of the club. On the darker side is controversy, a horse named Bullseye and a doping case with Boldenone and jockeys alleging that they have been framed.
While the controversy sizzles, there is only one concern that the election brings about the best committee and the most able ‘first amongst equals’ as the chairman of the club. This is because the club is more than just racing, though of course, it is racing primarily that is at its heart. This committee and chairman will be the custodian of Mumbai’s open land. The next year is going to be incredibly important, crucial in fact, as the club has to tackle the prickly lease issue. The 100-year-old lease has expired and it has to be renewed with the civic authorities. The city has a stake in this open space, so it is so important that the committee can negotiate this rough patch with aplomb.
Whoever wins, it will be very important that the committee stay united, post the elections. Infighting and divisiveness, will only result in delayed decisions which may result in difficulty securing the lease extension and other important club issues.
This election has hit news lows in viciousness and malice. Whoever takes that chair on Tuesday must then work together as a team with the other committee members. This is the best for the club and for the city too, as every Mumbaikar has an emotional stake in the RWITC.