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Why was Aslam Sher Khan Sacked? (8/1/2008)
--K. Aarumugam
Suresh Kalmadi, Chairman, Ad-hoc Committee, surprised today when he announced appooiontment of Ajit Pal Singh as Chairman of Selection Committee, replacing Aslam Sher Khan.

Ironically, this announcement was made in a press conference convened to brief the outcome of the ‘Future of Hockey’ discussions they had with former Olympians early in the day.

Kalmadi justified thus, “We will follow a rotation system”. He refused to elaborate when asked who will be the next chairman as per this new approach. He however said that this is the first time that he gets the view of so many Olympians. Obviously what he did not openly say was, they wanted this change.

This is surprising because Aslam Sher Khan was almost the face of the new dispensation which came into reckoning after dissolving the KPS Gill led Indian Hockey Federation in March. Insulting Aslam Sher Khan in favour of perennial KPS GIll supporter Ajit Pal is injustice to the process and the public sentiments that helped oust KPS Gill.

Rotating Chairman of Selection Committee is first in the annals of hockey.

There is more than what meets the eyes in the sordid development. Enquiries lead to Bhopal politics. Presence of Aslam Sher Khan’s bete noire Guffran-e-Azam in today’s proceedings should not be lost sight of.

Azam, president of Bhopal Hockey Association, had in the past many running duels with his citymate Aslam in the fight for the city’s hockey. Despite belonging to same political party, Congress, both has been at the logger heads for long. Aslam could not unseat Azam, then a Rajya Sabha MP, from BHA despite he was a minister in the Narasima Rao government. Their struggle for the BHA chair is well known and widely covered in the past.

Azam, who contested against KPS Gill in 1994 for the IHF president post at the Bhopal election, was the Selection Committee Chief at that time. KPS Gill made him a vice president after the Bhopal election, but he resigned next day in protest against KPS Gill’s police beating up two Statesman journalists in Delhi.

Sources reveal Azam met Kalmadi many times recently and assured his loyalty to him in the event of Aslam not given importance in the present set up. Despite being a player-politician, Aslam Khan lost out as he was not having his home vote.

Despite being media savvy, both Khans were not available for their comments.

Note: Part of the story was published in New Indian Express today

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What is this happening?
by Soham Desai on 8/1/2008 6:21:37 PM
I do not think what is happening in Indian Hockey is good for India. When KPS Gill was ousted, I saw a ray of hope. But now again I am disturbed. When we will be free from petty politics? God save Indian Hockey – India.
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