Brij Bhushan is ineligible to contest since he has completed 12 years as the federation head (File)
Outgoing Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh claimed that 22 of the 25 state units attended a meeting hosted by him today. "His candidates" for election to the federation on August 12 will be announced tomorrow, he added.
Monday is the last date for filing nominations.
"Twenty-two of the 25 states units associated with the WFI attended the meeting. (Our) candidates will be announced on Monday," BJP MP Brij Bhushan, who hosted the meeting at a five-star hotel, said.
Brij Bhushan, against whom six top wrestlers - including Olympic medallists Bajranj Punia and Sakshi Malik and Asian Games gold medallist Vinesh Phogat - had levelled charges of sexual harassment and sat in protest at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, is ineligible to contest since he has completed 12 years as the head of the federation - the maximum period allowed as per the National Sports Code.
A state unit member, who attended the meeting, said on the condition of anonymity that the BJP leader's son-in-law Vishal Singh (President of Bihar Wrestling Federation), who was widely being touted as Brij Bhushan's successor for the top post, will not contest the election.
"He (Vishal) declared his inability to contest the elections because he is very busy and said he would not be able to do justice to his job if he gets elected," said a state unit member secretary.
"He will, however, cast his vote," the secretary of the state body added.
Brij Bhushan's son Karan is also not part of the electoral college for the elections as Sports Minister Anurag Thakur had promised the protesting wrestlers at Jantar Mantar that none from the BJP leader's family would contest.
However, Brij Bhushan's candidates could face challenges from rivals, who reportedly had a parallel meeting of their own at a different location in the national capital.
The meeting was reportedly attended by the state units of Assam, Odisha, and Himachal Pradesh, though it could not be independently verified.
Assam was recently given voting rights by the IOA ad-hoc panel. Among those who could be in the fray from the rival faction are Railways Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) secretary Prem Chand Lochab (Gujarat representative) and Anita Sheoran, one of the witnesses in the sexual harassment case against Brij Bhushan, who has been named in the list as Odisha representative for the polls.
A Brij Bhushan camp insider said the BJP leader will have another meeting on Monday before the filing of nominations.
"There will be another meeting on Monday before the filing of nominations at the Olympic Bhawan, which will be chaired by Brij Bhushan," added the insider.
"Brij Bhushan spoke to every state unit chief individually to get a consensus on the candidates. We are all in favour of a unanimous candidate, who can take the sport forward," said Ranbir Kundu, the Punjab association secretary, adding that neither he nor his president, Asian Games gold medallist wrestler Kartar Singh, want to stand for key posts.
Kartar has previously served as WFI secretary.
Another source privy to the discussion said that most of the state units who came were in favour of "someone of stature" being nominated for the top posts.
"The names of J&K wrestling body chief Dushyant Sharma, Kartar Singh (Punjab body chief) and Jai Prakash (Delhi association) also came up," said the source, adding, "the names of UP's state unit officials, Prem Kumar Mishra and Sanjay Singh, were also discussed for key posts." The day-to-day activities of the WFI are being managed by the Indian Olympic Association-constituted ad-hoc committee, led by Wushu Association of India chief Bhupender Singh Bajwa.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)