The members of the Bangalore Turf Club are required to elect the new members of the Managing Committee on Monday. The onus is on them to elect those who show a commitment to the sport and are capable of acting responsibly. The members should carefully analyze the merit of each of the candidates in the fray within the limitations and chose those who have proven administrative experience.
The club is facing a crisis on several fronts. Besides the financial crisis, the administrative system has collapsed and needs a comprehensive overhaul. There is no point in electing those who make up the numbers. The club has suffered because, in the past few years, those who have been elected have rarely bothered to apply their mind to the problems on hand and allowed things to drift. We need the managing committee members to be proactive and responsive to issues confronting the sport. They need to make all the stakeholders welcome and should adopt an inclusive policy instead of alienating different sections by autocratic functioning.
The club in recent years became a big litigant which leaked precious money by way of legal expenses. Issues which could have been sorted out through dialogue reached the courts resulting in a lot of bad blood as many of the cases boomeranged on the club. The case that BTC fought in the courts with CUPA was about providing good stable conditions for the horses. Nobody denies that horses are the reason for the existence of the club and their welfare should be the principal concern of the club. The club could have easily solved the issue by dialogue and saved a lot of expenses and needless headaches and a reprimand. Getting directions from the court to take up welfare measures doesn`t reflect well on the club.
This is all the more reason why we should have good people at the helm. People who can work harmoniously in the interests of the sport and not fight ego battles are a must if the sport has to thrive. The turf club had been plagued by internecine quarrels. People with maturity are the need of the hour to ensure that the sport is conducted in a way which does not result in issues going beyond the confines of the club. The deep divisions in the committee have also emboldened the employees of the club to play their own politics. Instead of the Managing Committee running the show, individual managing committee members began to call the shots, resulting in the administration of the club going for a toss. The employees were also unsure as to who they should report. Instead of routing everything through the head of the institution, the Managing Committee also began to deal directly with the officials thus compromising the CEO of the club.
There are three vacancies for the posts of Stewards. Of the lot, the most experienced one is N V Babu who worked as a Steward of Mysore Race Club for a number of years besides being its past Chairman. Babu also was at the helm of the prestigious Bangalore Club. His regime had been free of controversy. ``My intention to contest for the post of Steward of the club at Bangalore is to bring my experience into play. I believe people who have experience in managing the clubs are needed to steer the club through the many crises confronting the sport,`` Babu said.
Then there is Naval Narielwala. He is re-contesting for the post of Steward. He has been a Steward of the club for the last two years. He is known to be sincere though at times not in touch with reality. He has maintained a clean slate and there has not been a single charge of any impropriety. Perhaps the experience of having worked for the last two years would have better prepared him for one more term. He could be more effective because of the experience gained.
Satish Gowda is another who is contesting to retain his post as a Steward. Satish is known as a good man but one is not sure whether he made his presence felt as a Steward. Being a good man is not of much help. One needs to be proactive and should be committed to the sport and not to members who vote.
Then there is Shivakumar Khenny who is trying to make a comeback after giving a gap. Khenny is surely a good man but not known to be a firm person. He needs to spend more time addressing issues confronting the sport and should take decisions after due diligence rather than being guided by a few members whom he relies on for advice. There is a possibility that he could be the next Chairman of the Club.
Kiran Basappa is another who is contesting to become Steward once again. Despite having good knowledge of the sport, he had been known to be high-handed in his actions. Possibly his earlier stint and the negative impact of his high-handedness may make him better this time out.
There are two slots for the post of Managing Committee. One hopes the right people with a commitment to the sport are elected. Since the role of these people is restricted to administrative matters and not relating to racing, the members should elect the best keeping in mind whether these worthies give time for the posts they are contesting and are not swayed by any other interests.