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MAJORITY

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After a hectic campaigning, polling and finally counting on 25th of November the results of the prestigious press club of India elections have been declared. The panel of Gautam Lahiri, Manoranjan Bharti, Vinay Kumar, Sanjay Singh and Mahua defeated their nearest rival and stood victorious with a resounding majority.

The president of the panel re elected for the second time with his entire team got record number of 1108 votes , literally defeating the rival panel of Sen, Gandhi and Faridi on all seats except one of the managing committee. This is definitely the historic victory of the sitting panel of PCI which has been continuously winning since 2010 having made revolutionary changes in the inner decor of the club in terms of its complete facelift to give it a magnificient ambience to the satisfaction of the club members and their families who often visit here for family get togethers as well.

Though there are more than 8 thousand members of the club but the polling was number was 1721 with two votes going invalid. This time about 250 more members voted compared to the previous years’ election. Though there were charges and counter charges against each other with the rival panel working hard on anti establishment theme, it seems that despite their best efforts the rival team could’nt make it this time as well, the reason being the PCI members have voted for the development and  constructive work having been done by the Gautam Lahiri Panel the previous year including holding protest demonstrations to demand justice for the scribes late Gauri Lankesh and Shantanu Bhowmik killed despicably while performing their journalistic duties.

The elections were held for the posts of President, Vice President, Secretary General, joint secretary, treasurer and 16 members of the managing committee of the Press Club if India. The current panel won on all seats massively with a single seat of managing committee going to the rival faction. Senior journalist Umakant Lakhera, Vijay Shanker Chaturvedi both members of the MC got good number of votes viz. 806 and 737 etc while the treasurer Mahua, a women candidate for treasurer’s post made a record of sort of receiving highest number of votes i.e. 1016 more or less at par with the president Gautam Lahri who secured more than 1100 votes.

The counting for votes started at 12 in the afternoon on 25th Nov and the results were declared at 3.00 AM 26th November. Thank God its finally over in a cordial manner. Congrats to the new team and to the defeated team as well with a message to them that it’s never the end. It’s always the next time. The elections were ably conducted by senior PCI member MMC Sharma and his team of efficient colleagues.

It may be recalled that the idea of Press Club of India was first mted in the year 1930 by the then veteran journalist Durga Dass who was with the Associated Press but the club actually came into existence in 1957. He once visited England and was impressed by the press club of England. After coming back he worked on the idea to set a press club of India and finally it came into existence. Since then the club is functioning from the same building situated at Raisina Road. But since the building once the mess/ club of British officers, prior to its handing over to the PCI management more than 60 years ago is now too short in a space for PCI having the membership of more than 8 thousand scribes. The building has been included in archives and therefore no additions can be made in the building’s original structure. However, PCI has been allotted a new bigger space in front of Shastri Bhawan, Dr Rajendra Prasad Road and technical formalities are being completed to take over the charge of the plot before starting the construction work , though it’ll still take years, I believe. Various prime ministers, iconic personalities, film stars and politicians of eminence have visited the club and held their press conferences from time to time and the trend is still continuing. Majority of the press club members are of the opinion that it should come out of the label of being just a club for drink and dine purposes but should rather make it a forum for healthy debates, discussions and interactions on issues of national significance maintaining the highest standards of journalistic ethics and values. They say that the club should in essence represent its full indpendence, ethics, principles and morals and should continue fighting for the right of free, fair and fearless journalism and a forum to express fearless views irrespective of any pressure or subjugation either from the authorities concerned or any other channel.

SUNIL NEGI