New Delhi - National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) president Raninder Singh Tuesday launched a scathing attack on the Punjab government and accused it of using the state machinery to put pressure on the voters for the shooting body's annual elections slated for April 6.
Raninder Singh, son of former Punjab chief minister and state Congress president Amrinder Singh, urged the members to stay away from politics and come forward for the sake of the sport.
The political rivalry between the Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab has now spilled to shooting.
Akali Dal-backed Bikram Singh Majithia, revenue minister in the Punjab government and brother-in-law of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, was also eyeing the NRAI president's post but couldn't find a place in the electoral college.
Accusing the Punjab government of putting pressure on the voters, Raninder Singh said: "They are using the police to put pressure on the voters. Not long back we were in power when my father was the chief minister. It is very bad how the Akali Dal government is misusing the state machinery to garner votes. I urge all the members to stay away from politics and vote for the sake of the sport."
Raninder Singh, however, has won the first round as he emerged victorious in the elections for life and annual members of the NRAI.
In the voting held here Monday, out of 843 voters, 513 life members voted in favour of giving Raninder Singh the power to nominate the four representatives. There were 329 votes against Raninder
For the annual members, out of 28 votes, 24 were in favour of giving Raninder Singh the authority to nominate the four representatives.
Raninder Singh said elections will take place in accordance with NRAI's laws and by-laws, which is basically a reflection of the government sports code.
"Since taking over in 2010, I have worked hard to make NRAI one of the well managed sports associations in the country. We are in no conflict with any body and why we should? We will have the elections in accordance to our laws and by-laws and if you look clearly it is a true copy of the government sports code," he said.
Raninder Singh also lauded the government for helping NRAI and the shooters.
"We are thankful to the government for its help. This time they have even increased our budget to Rs.20 crore. What more can we expect from the government," he said.