Mumbai: Turf Club boss, Vivek Jain, quits just before the race

Sep 07, 2017, 07:35 IST | Hemal Ashar

With allies bolting his stable, RWITC chief Vivek Jain says he won't win in Friday's acrimonious election

Vivek Jain
Vivek Jain

The dust is flying across Mahalaxmi through epistolary aggro, as the turf club gears up for elections. With a slew of letters flying to the 1,800 voters, Chairman Vivek Jain has accepted he will be unable to retain the coveted 'kursi', even as three supporters - Milan Luthria, Geoffrey Nagpal and Gulam Vahanvaty - have decided to break away.

Mahalaxmi Racecource. File pic
Mahalaxmi Racecource. File pic

Luthria, Nagpal and Vahanvaty, in a letter dated August 28 to the prospective voters, said it is the "politics of sides and combative confrontations that have played a major part in not leaving sufficient focus and time for the running of the club".

Khushroo DhunjibhoyKhushroo Dhunjibhoy

They have accused Jain of a 'my way or the highway' attitude, and adding in their letter, "Unpleasantness results if the chairman (Vivek Jain) does not have his way."

All's not well
A voting member punctured the notion that the current committee was a united one, saying, "There has been bitter fighting in the meetings with committee members often shouting and screaming at each other when they disagreed."

The three breakaways end their letter by asking members to vote for them "if they believe in a committee that works on the true issues that faces our club today".

Meanwhile, a club insider said the three had informed Jain as early as April 10 of their intention to withdraw support for him for the upcoming election.

Jain, in turn, has hit the members with letters dated August-end, wherein he acknowledges that three from his "erstwhile" team have "walked away from me stating that I no longer have their support to be chairman". His letter adds, "It is not the timing of their decision as much as (the fact that) they embraced the group… we had jointly challenged on grounds of principle that has caused me anguish."

Tale of many letters
Meanwhile, Khushroo Dhunjibhoy, former club chairman, always a man of few words, has stayed true to his nature. His letter to the voter base comprises a horseshoe shape with the names of his team members written inside. The communication is titled 'Club First' and includes the names of the three who have crossed floors - Nagpal, Luthria and Vahanvaty. "This is a gentle reminder to support our team with the help of your family and friends," it says.

There are references to the "backroom comedy of errors" and how this politicking would put "national politics to shame" in Jain's letter, though he could be talking about the election scene in its entirety.

A bewildered club member asked, as he rifled through the number of letters asking members to vote, "What's going on in these elections?" Though the atmosphere is charged, racing followers have seen intense battles and muck-raking politicking earlier too. This is, as they say, simply par for the course, or in this case, horse.

There are 11 nominees in the fray, with nine set to be elected. It is now not a question of who will be chairman, as Jain is out of the race, but of who will be the two not making it to the committee. The gates open Friday morning and the race ends Monday evening.

The equine-ations

Team Dhunjibhoy: Khushroo Dhunjibhoy, Milan Luthria, Jaydev Mody, Geoffrey Nagpal, Shyam Ruia, Ram Shroff and Gulam Vahanvaty

Team Jain: Vivek Jain, Ashwin Mehta, Zinia Lawyer, Champak Zaveri

The remote e-voting, as the RWITC calls it, begins on September 8 at 9 am and goes on till September 10, 5 pm. Those who can't, or don't want to exercise that option, can caste their vote at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse on Monday,
September 11, from 11 am to 7 pm, after which, the results will be declared.

11
Number of nominees

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