Reversing its earlier decision, the global chess body FIDE has reinstated India’s Ravindra Dongre as its President for Asian Zone 3.7 and removed the nominee of All India Chess Federation’s (AICF) nominee Ajay H Patel.
The newly elected AICF’s body got its General Body’s ratification in February this year for the nomination of Gujarat State Chess Association President Ajay Patel as the country’s nominee for the Zone 3.7 position.
The Zone 3.7 position was held by Dongre.
“Mr. Patel’s elevation as President of Asian Zone 3.7 will be a big boost for chess in India as the World Chess Federation granted special zone status for the country,” AICF had then said.
“The AICF had written to FIDE about revoking my nomination and the fresh nomination of Ajay Patel. The Fide on its part immediately accepted that and removed my name from its website and uploaded Ajay Patel’s name,” Dongre told IANS.
Objecting to FIDE’s move, Dongre wrote to the global chess body.
“I wrote a letter to the FIDE President citing its own rules on the circumstances a person can be changed for the post. The FIDE then referred the matter to its Constitutional Commission which deliberated the matter and decided in my favour,” Dongre said.
Dongre said only the FIDE General Assembly can change a Zonal President and AICF should have sufficient reason to recommend the change.
“FIDE’s legal advisor had asked several questions. FIDE wanted to know whether I had resigned from the post and to which I had answered in negative,” Dongre added.
Subsequently, FIDE amended its website uploading Dongre’s name and picture in the place of Patel’s.
“It is a clear loss of face for AICF. The AICF officials had unnecessarily put Ajay Patel into an awkward position because of their poor understanding of FIDE rules,” Dongre said.
For Patel, this is the second time his name and picture were removed by FIDE from its website.
In 2020, FIDE had updated the AICF page on its website by uploading the names and the pictures of Ajay H. Patel, President, Bharat Singh Chauhan, Secretary, Naresh Sharma, Treasurer, M. Arun Singh, Joint Secretary and Vipnesh Bharadwaj, Vice President.
It was done after the electoral officer had rejected the election nomination papers of rival factions for not filing them in person.
As the nomination papers of Patel and others were found proper, they were declared elected unopposed.
The matter went to the Madras High Court which had ordered repoll.
As the election of AICF office bearers was in the courts, FIDE in order to remain neutral and not support any faction decided to temporarily delete data on the president’s position then.
And this time around Patel’s name was uploaded and removed by FIDE.
In the election held for AICF office bearers early this year, Patel did not contest for the President’s post to accommodate Sanjay Kapoor who had then switched over to Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan’s side.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at [email protected])