Last Tuesday was D-Day for scratchings and acceptors for RWITC’s September Stakes- the euphemism for the annual elections to the Committee. Finally eleven were “declared” to start for the September 23 election, down from the speculated 13.
In view of the turnaround in the financials of the Club, it was reasonable to expect the present Committee, who have been in the saddle for just nine months, would continue unhindered. The entry of three “new” entrants, all of whom have served in the past, has upset the applecart of the unusually smooth run in the governance of the Club. Mr Vijay Shirke has led with distinction and his position is not under threat- the Chairmanship usually being the biggest divisive factor in the mayhem of RWITC politics. It is expected, though that the election of the Chairman of Stewards, will be quite the opposite.
The withdrawal of an upright and honest Committee member, Jehangir Mehta, who admirably did not cow down to vote bank politics, and held his ground, is what deserves to be emulated , if the Club is to raise the bar in corporate governance.
The introduction of Rule 20 in Section 108 of the Companies’ Act, has made “remote e voting” mandatory. This amounted to giving contestants multiple “proxy” votes, disallowed by the Articles, as the passwords and now OTP’s, are believed to be given away/ traded in huge numbers, which takes away from the integrity of the process. After all, at the heart of any election is a free and fair vote.
The Committee would do well to represent to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs that the time tested policy of in person voting is the only way to prevent polarization of votes, as the last few years results amply proves and by exempting sporting clubs from the mischief of this Rule. We succeeded in introducing a code of conduct as part of a process to bring in electoral reform, and a united committee ought to take this up as its next major electoral initiative.
On the international racing front, the world’s highest ranked horse, Baaeed, enhanced his stature by extending his unbeaten run to ten at York, and a bid for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris on October 2, is not only a possibility but looking increasingly likely, and if he does run and win, it would be the best thing to happen to racing since the great Frankel a few years ago.