Archana Sharma – New Delhi
The elections for the executive committee of Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India (ADTOI) held on July 12, 2014, brought forth some discerning facts about power struggle. Rajesh Mudgill, Ravi Luthra, Neeraj Rastogi, Capt Sunil Solankey, Manoj Varshney, Chander Wadhwani, Manoj Mitta, Rajiv Sobti and Arun Sharma, alleged that the whole process was rigged and manipulated to achieve an earlier decided outcome. During a press conference held in New Delhi, they demanded a recount and an investigation of the election process. In the elections, Jyoti Kapur was elected as president; Sanjay Aggarwal as vice president; Anurag Aggarwal as general secretary and Rajesh Arya as treasurer.
While explaining the reasons behind the accusations, Mudgill stated, “The total count of votes was 2139, as announced by Praveen Chugh, returning officer (RO), while it should have been 2088. The difference of 51 votes has been left unexplained and all our requests to provide documentation were denied, till a legal notice was served.” They also claim that three outstation ballot papers were received by the secretariat but weren’t included in the voting process.
During the press conference, a mail written by Dinesh Veer Singh, one of the independent observers, was provided, consisting of his observation of the election process, stating the manipulation of the process. “The power given to the independent observers was also restricted and they were unable to check the combined total of the votes,” stated Luthra.
Initially, a recount was set to take place on July 28, 2014 but was postponed to August 9, 2014. “Mukesh Jagga, interim chairman handed over power to the new team, despite the allegations. Also, before the recount could take place, the RO resigned without any explanations, upholding the election results,” stated Mudgill.
Talking about his role in the elections, Jagga believes, “ The interim chairman has no power after the election process is complete. The RO is in-charge of the operations and on the day of elections, no one had come forward with any kind of allegations against anyone.” Stating the election process to be fair, Chugh said, “The whole process took place in front of the contestants. The ballot boxes were sealed and I don’t believe that any totaling mistake had taken place. Currently, the ballot boxes are with the ADTOI Secretariat and can be checked by anyone. “The results were declared in the presence of everyone. The people who have lost should accept their defeat with dignity.”
However, as all claims called for verification, in order to break the ice on stalemate going on in the association on the recounting of votes, a General House meeting with the agenda of recounting of votes was convened September 3, 2014 at Ashoka Hotel, New Delhi.Chugh and Krishen Seth, observer, ADTOI elections who conducted the election in a fair, free and transparent manner were present and Kapur after calling the meeting to order invited both of them to chair the meeting and start the proceedings. Chugh explained in detail the procedure adopted for conducting the elections and asked the House whether they are ready for the recounting of votes which was not allowed to be conducted by the contestants, who had asked for the recount.