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Mumbai Hockey Association polls: Players lose it

Ruling Mumbai Hockey Association panel registers clean sweep as Olympians walk away disappointed

When Mumbai Hockey Association (MHA) president Manga Singh Bakshi emerged from the counting room around 9:15pm yesterday with a broad grin across his face, one sensed that he had not only retained his own position at the election yesterday but also won a few seats for his panel.

However, it emerged that his panel had effected a clean sweep against the opposing Players' Group comprising Olympians Gurbax Singh Grewal, Joaquim Carvalho and Merwyn Fernandis among others. "It's a great result for us (incumbent panel) and for Mumbai hockey.

Mumbai Hockey Association secretary Ramsingh Rathore (third from left) and president Manga Singh Bakshi (third from right) after winning the elections at the MHA Stadium in Churchgate yesterday
Mumbai Hockey Association secretary Ramsingh Rathore (third from left) and president Manga Singh Bakshi (third from right) after winning the elections at the MHA Stadium in Churchgate yesterday 

You will see a new MHA from now on as we go all out to promote our national game. The Olympians are always welcome to share their views with us," Bakshi said later surrounded by a large gathering of supporters at the MHA, Churchgate.

We felt intimidated, says Carvalho
The MHA's 80th Annual General Meeting followed by the elections had an unprecedented number of private security guards accompanying the incumbent president Manga Singh Bakshi and secretary Ramsingh Rathore. Opposition candidate Joaquim Carvalho said his Players;' group felt intimidated by the aggressive-looking security men.

Former India player Mir Ranjan Negi (centre) with security guards at the MHA Stadium yesterday. Pics/Shadab Khan
Former India player Mir Ranjan Negi (centre) with security guards at the MHA Stadium yesterday. Pics/Shadab Khan  
"This is an election for a sports body, and not war. We haven't come here to fight. When Gurbax asked a few tough questions to the MHA office-bearers just before the AGM, the security guards literally confronted Gurbax and only after my stern warning to the officials did they ask the man to back off," Carvalho told mid-day.

Bakshi clarified that the guards were only hired to avoid any untoward incident.

"We feared that things could get a little out of hand given the aggressive campaign of the opposition group, so we called in some guards for our protection. And things did get loud and noisy at the AGM," said Bakshi.

Striker Balbir Singh checks in at MHA
Among a host of hockey Olympians and internationals who descended on the MHA for yesterday's elections was one former player of legendary status, who travelled all the way from Ludhiana to cast his vote in favour of elder brother and Olympian Gurbax Singh, contesting for president.

 Former India centre-forward Balbir Singh came to MHA all the way from Ludhiana yesterday
Former India centre-forward Balbir Singh came to MHA all the way from Ludhiana yesterday

Centre forward Balbir was part of India's 1966 Asiad gold medal-winning team and 1970 Asiad silver medal-winning team.

In between, he also helped the country to a bronze at the 1968 Olympics besides going on to deliver numerous victories for Western Railways and Railways in domestic ties at the MHA Stadium. Unfortunately, he couldn't win this 'match' for his brother.

Mumbai Hockey Association election results

President: Manga Singh Bakshi (248 votes)
Not elected: Gurbax Singh Grewal (66 votes)
Vice presidents: Bal Malkit Singh (235 votes), Gurdip Singh Chandok (217 votes)
Not elected: Merwyn Fernandis (70 votes), Satinder Walia (63)
Hon secretary: Ramsingh Sathore (229 votes)
No elected: Joaquim Carvalho (83 votes)
Hon Treasurer: Bal Govind Chokhani (247 votes)
Not elected: Ranvir Singh (62)
Managing Committee: Mir Ranjan Negi (257), Vernon Lobo (249), Puran Singh (247), Darryl D'Souza (238), Rajinder Singh Parmar (230), Baljit Singh Chowdhary (207), Mukhwinder Singh Gill (226), MP Agarwal (213), All incumbents.
Not elected: Gavin Ferreira (75), Neena Rane (72), Jagdeep Nanjappa (49), Harvinder Singh (48), Raju Bagade (63), Sukhbir Singh (55), Peter Menezes (57), Ranjit Dalvi (56), Ramesh Pillay (67) All Players' Group.

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