New Delhi: Rajasthan Football Association chief and Congress leader Manvendra Singh on Friday alleged that union minister Kiren Rijiu “influenced” the outcome of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) elections.
In the election for the post of president, Indian football icon Bhaichung Bhutia suffered a humiliating 1-33 defeat against his former East Bengal teammate Kalyan Chaubey, a BJP leader from West Bengal.
Terming it a sad day for Indian football, Singh claimed that union minister of law and justice Rijiju “exhorted” the state association members to vote against Bhutia by visiting their hotel on the eve of the elections.
“The interference continued through the process and culminated last night when union minister (Rijiju) exhorted the association members that they should not vote for Bhaichung,” Singh, a former MLA from Rajasthan, told reporters.
“I think that interference is unacceptable, and is harmful for Indian football. What football is already suffering, can only suffer more. It’s not going to be in good hands.”
Chaubey dismissed the allegations.
With his thumping win, Chaubey became the first footballer-turned-president in the 85-year history of the AIFF.
Singh said as the players are not eligible to vote they exercised the other option of nominating Bhutia’s name.