Odisha: Whiff Off Change In Sports Associations Too !

Bhubaneswar: With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coming to power in Odisha after 24 years of rule by the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), a number of changes are now being made in different spheres in the state. The impact of change of government is gradually being seen in different sports associations. Speculations are rife that political leaders holding various posts in different sports associations will now be removed. BJD leaders had been dominating many sectors as the party remained in power for so many years.

However, leaders of the BJP are now all et to enter various sports bodies with the party coming to power in the state. It is speculated that Debashish Samantray will be removed from the post of president of the Football Association of Odisha (FAO) as election in the sports body is slated to be held on July 21.

Debashish Out, Samir In!

Elections in FAO has always been influenced by state politics. Debashish Samantray, who is now FAO president, is unlikely to contest election this time after having won two successive polls representing Radharaman Club. His name has not been forwarded on behalf of Radharaman Club. On the other hand, the name of senior BJP leader and former Minister Samir Dey has been sent for election by Rising Student Club. Observers say that there is a strong possibility of Samir Dey returning to the sports association. Nomination process for FAO election is underway for the July 21 election. A total of 241 members are eligible to cast vote in FAO election.

Return Of Samir Dey

Samir Dey had been the president of Odisha Olympic Association (OOA) for many years. However, he was sidelined after politics in Barabati Stadium was increasingly influenced by the BJD. With the BJP now in power, Samir Dey may stage a come back into the sports sector. Ashibad Behera is also planning to be in the race for the post of general secretary.

Bobby To Exit After Debashish!

Among others, BJD organisational secretary Pranab Prakash Das had also made an entry into sports association. He is now the president of Odisha Cricket Association (OCA). It is speculated that he may be removed from the post when elections in the OCA are held next year. Pranab, who remained an important centre of power in the BJD, was defeated by BJP leader and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan in the recent elections in Sambalpur Lok Sabha constituency. An influential BJP leader is likely to replace Pranab, popularly known as Bobby, as OCA president.

Politicians In Sports Associations

Political parties and their leaders have been dominating different sports associations in the state for the last many years. Political leaders hold different posts in over 25 sports associations, including FAO, OCA, OOA and Odisha Athletics Association (OAA). While Padmanava Behera is closely associated with FAO, Achyuta Samanta has close links with Volleyball Association. Former Congress MLA Suresh Routray had close links with Athletics Association. Similarly, Rohit Pujari is associated with Badminton Association. Legendary leader and former Chief Minister late Biju Patnaik was once the president of National Basketball Federation. Similarly, K P Singh Deo was president of National Rowing Federation.

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