Under pressure to quit, tainted Indian Olympic Association President Suresh Kalmadi today said that he will not seek re-nomination in the IOA's upcoming elections and hinted at retiring from sports administration.
In a significant development, Kalmadi said that he will make way for a new generation of sports leaders after having served as IOA president for the last 16 years.
Kalmadi, who was arrested and released on bail in connection with the Commonwealth Games corruption scandal, said he will not seek re-nomination in the elections of the IOA scheduled for November 25.
"I have served Indian sports, for the last four terms as President of the IOA, to the best of my abilities and have now decided to make way for a new generation of sports leaders," Kalmadi said.
"I would now like to focus on my constituency - Pune and on my family. I am thankful to all the Sports federations and Sports professionals for their support and confidence in my leadership. I am sure the Indian sports will achieve new heights and will soon emerge as a sports powerhouse," he added.
Kalmadi's decision to stay away from the elections comes in the midst of a raging war of words between the International Olympic Committee and the IOA on his status in the wake of the CWG scandal.
While the IOC has been putting pressure on the IOA to suspend Kalmadi from the post pending disposal of the case, the IOA had refused to act against him.
Kalmadi's decision of not contesting elections comes exactly two years after the end of the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games which was hit by a series of corruption cases even before the start of the Games.
Despite being arrested and spent some time in jail, Kalmadi had refused to step down from the post of president though he had written to the IOA acting chief V K Malhotra that he would not be involved in the day-to-to affairs for some time.
This, however, did not stop the IOC from putting pressure on the IOA to remove Kalmadi and the world body, in a series of letters, said that it would send an election observer to monitor the polls as there was confusion on his status.
Just a few days back, the IOC had asked the IOA to immediately suspend Kalmadi, along with his close aides in the CWG Organising Committee Lalit Bhanot and V K Verma till the disposal of the court cases against them. The world body had said that Kalmadi should also not be allowed to contest the IOA elections.
With Kalmadi deciding not to seek re-nomination in the elections, the contest is likely to be between Indian Boxing Federation Chairman Abhay Chautala and incumbent IOA Secretary General Randhir Singh.
Clean Sports India, a body fighting for corruption-free sports in the country, welcomed Kalmadi's decision not to contest elections.
"It is a welcome decision. We have been fighting for this. It is the beginning of a new era. The sports reforms can now be taken to its logical end," B V P Rao, CSI convenor, said.
He said former sportspersons should come into sports administration and start a new era.
Kalmadi has been a Member of Parliament from 1982. He began his career with National Defence Academy and has been a flying instructor at Indian Air force team at NDA and has also participated in Indo-Pak war in 1965 and 1971 as an Air Force pilot.
© Copyright PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of any PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.