Badminton Association of India (BAI) has called for an Executive Council meeting in Lucknow this Sunday where BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma is expected to take over as its interim President. The meeting has been called to fill up the post left vacant by the sudden demise of former president Akhilesh Das Gupta. Assam Badminton Association President Sarma is tipped to become the interim head of the BAI after he got support from the senior members of the association. "We have called the executive council meeting on Sunday in Lucknow where the interim president will be selected by the executive council members," BAI general secretary Anup Narang told PTI. "The interim president will continue till June, 2018 when the elections are due. One of the vice-presidents will chair the meeting and let's see what happens in the meeting," he added. Speculations was rife early this week that Sarma is set to be the new BAI chief with top shuttlers Jwala Gutta, Ashwini Ponnappa and Parupalli Kashyap welcoming the BJP leader. Interestingly, according to the Constitution: "President shall be elected by the Council amongst its members and provided that only the outgoing office bearers or the member of the outgoing Executive Committee shall be eligible to contest the election for the post of President." "It all depends on the members of the council.
Whatever happens on Sunday will happen with consensus. We believe Sarma will be a good leader, but everybody also needs to believe that," said a BAI official. Asked if the interim president can call for the Annaul General Body Meeting before its due date next year, the BAI official said: "AGM can be called only by the acting president and if he wants to call it before it is due then he will need a 2/3rd majority of the executive council." Sarma served as a Congress MLA from the Jalukbari constituency in Assam from 2001 till 2015. He joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in August 2015 and is currently Assam's health and education minister.