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Kalyan Choubey has become the new President of AIFA after defeating India’s legendary football player Bhaichung Bhutia. For the first time in the 85-year history of the All India Football Federation, a former player has been elected president. Kalyan Choubey is a former goalkeeper of Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. The 45-year-old Chaube defeated Bhaichung Bhutia by a margin of 33-1. This was expected earlier, as many in the 34-member electoral roll drawn from the state union were not in support of former captain Bhutia.
The 45-year-old Bhutia, known as the ‘sniper of Sikkim’, also showed no interest in being a proposer or seconder of his state union’s representative to file his nomination papers. Bhutia’s name was proposed by the Andhra Football Association. At the same time, Rajasthan Football Association approved it. Bhutia had earlier also filed his nomination for the post of president. Her name was then proposed by her former teammate Deepak Mandal while the eminent women’s footballer Madhu Kumari approved it. However, he still could not win the election.
Choubey, a BJP leader who lost the last parliamentary election from Krishnanagar seat in West Bengal, never played for India’s senior team, although he was in the team on a few occasions. He represented India in several international tournaments at the junior level. He was the goalkeeper for both Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. Both Bhutia and Choubey have played together for East Bengal.
N A Haris, president of Karnataka Football Association, won the election of the lone vice-president by defeating Manvendra Singh of Rajasthan Football Association. Haris is also a sitting MLA of the Congress Legislature. Kippa Ajay of Arunachal Pradesh defeated Gopalkrishna Kosaraju of Andhra Pradesh for the post of Treasurer. Kosarju and Manvendra had proposed and supported Bhutia.
All the 14 candidates who filed nominations for the posts of Executive Committee members were elected unopposed.