BTC says no to increase in membership

BTC says no to increase in membership

There were no surprises or late twists as a defiant Bangalore Turf Club on Wednesday overwhelmingly rejected a resolution on granting 50 membership seats to the State Government and decided to approach the court in search of temporary relief.

Of the 338 members, 150 were physically present while 127 proxies were lodged. Barring three members, the rest all shot down the government's major demand within minutes of the commencement of the Special General Body meeting.

The members then asked the executive committee to seek legal recourse in a bid to regain the licence, which has not been renewed by the State Government since it expired on August 31. The decision means the winter season, which was supposed to kick off early this month, cannot start as an irked State Government in all likelihood will not renew the licence.

The BTC chairman V Harimohan Naidu said the club is hopeful of getting an interim order passed by the court which would see the resumption of races. "We will be holding a meeting with the BTC's legal counsel who will advice us on the next step forward. We are trying to get an interim order from the court to instruct the government to grant us licence to conduct races while the issue of membership is fought simultaneously. We are hoping to get the interim order passed in 2-3 weeks time."

BTC sources, however, said races may not be held until the end of December. "The committee may have to pencil in on a law firm and then they would need a week or two at least to build the case. They will then have to approach the court which needs to study the case before passing an order. End of December could see some judges take a vacation. So, in all probability, there may not be any racing for this year."

Naidu said BTC is not against broad-basing of membership but the manner in which the government wants to sneak in. "I'm all for broad-basing of membership but in a democratic elected way. Previously a committee had sent a proposal to the government to increase the membership by 150 but they never responded. The main idea of going to the government to increase the membership by 50 this time is that if the resolution had got passed, we would have got the licence to conduct racing."

When asked if trainers and owners -- the main stakeholders -- had raised concerns regarding the current impasse which has deeply affected their livelihood, Naidu was blunt in his response. "They never said anything. A vast majority voted against it (the resolution)."

Naidu, who has served as the chairman two times earlier, said the loss suffered by the club over the last two and a half months amounted to Rs 10-12 crore while the government has lost Rs 35-40 crore.

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