The panel supported by the incumbent governing committee of the Press Club of India won four of the five prime positions in this year’s annual elections.
Former Hindustan journalist Umakant Lakhera was elected president after beating contender Sanjay Basak of Asian Age by 97 votes. United News of India’s Vinay Kumar was elected secretary general. He bagged 635 votes, 59 more than Navabharat’s Santosh Kumar Thakur. Journalist Chander Shekhar Luthra was elected joint secretary.
The winning margin narrowed nervously for journalist Shahid K Abbas, who edged ahead of CNN News18’s Pallavi Ghosh by 13 votes.
The Lakhera panel was supported by a group of journalists who have governed the club since 2010.
Of the 4,200 eligible voters at the club, 1,400 turned up to vote on election day on April 10.
The only member of the challenger panel to clinch victory was Bloomberg’s Sudhi Ranjan Sen, who was elected treasurer after obtaining 20 more votes than his opponent, Doordarshan’s Jyotika Grover.
The 16 elected members to the managing committee were Praveen Jain, Poonam Agarwal, Swati Mathur, Valsa Williams, AU Asif, Amrita Madhukalya, Anindya Chattopadhyay, Anjali Ojha, Atul Kumar Mishra, Basanth P, Kalyan Barooah, Mrigank Prabhakar, Rakesh Negi, Sanjay Chowdhury, Sreeparna Chakrabarty and Vijay Shankar Chaturvedi.
Mathur, a journalist with Times of India, was the highest vote getter among managing committee candidates with 653 votes, followed by Anjali Ojha of Go News with 648.
At the bottom was independent candidate Vijay Kumar with 95 votes. Kumar had invited the Dasna temple priest Yati Narshinghanand Saraswati for a press conference at the club on April 1.
So ends one of the club's most contentious elections. On one hand was the panel that has been in charge since 2010, seen as a leftist-liberal clique, with not many familiar names in journalism. On the other was a panel with more working journalists, picked from better known media organisations, but who are accused of not being liberal enough.
Confused? Read our piece to find out more.