MUMBAI: Advocate Ashish Shelar, a local BJP strongman and regarded as a close confidant of Union Home Minister Amit Shah is ready to gird up his loins for the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) elections to be held at Gurugram on February 3.
Mr. Shelar has been associated with boxing and cricket since his college days.
A sitting member of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly (MLA) from the Bandra West constituency and a former Minister of School Education, Sports and Youth Welfare, the 48 year old has decided to lock horns with the CMD of Spice Jet and the incumbent BFI President, Ajay Singh, for the BFI President’s post and field his panel as well.
Exuding confidence three days before the elections, Mr. Shelar said in his opening observations at the MCA Recreation Centre, Bandra-Kurla-Complex: “ We are very confident about winning the elections and this I am saying because of the support extended by the State Associations. They are supporting us, our panel, to bring in a change in the manner of administration and governance of the national federation and to elevate boxing to the next level.”
Mr. Shelar touched upon the difficulties faced at the Rio Olympics because of the delay in the formation of the BFI in 2016. “When the Federation is strong, the ecosystems for boxing can be seen in a brighter and positive light. Now the Tokyo Olympics is before us and the boxers will get all encouragement and support to strengthen their performance at Tokyo. The democratic manner of governance State associations are used to will be restored. The incumbent people at the BFI were functioning in a dictatorial way.”
Flanked by Kerala’s Dr. C.B. Raje who is contesting for the post of Secretary General, Anil Mishra, the candidate for the post of Treasurer and Rajesh Desai the candidate for the post of Joint Secretary and former BFI secretary Jay Kowli and ex-senior vice-president Asit Banerjee, Mr. Shelar said that his priority would be to establish a system wherein boxing and boxers would benefit the most.
“I cannot reveal everything today, but we have plans to set up a modern boxing academy in the next four years. I am talking to the Corporate world and I am two steps ahead of my opponent in the matter of contacts at the Central Government level,” said Mr. Shelar.