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By Ikram Khan
Monday 05 Jun 2017
Ikram Khan

After the rap on the knuckles from Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday, the committee of the Bangalore Turf Club (BTC) has realised that it will cost them dear if they continue to defy or snub the government, not accepting the many proposals and suggestions made by the government. They are now willing to toe the government line fearing that the government may pull the plug and blow out the fuse.

The Chief Minister in his brief chat with two committee members including the chairman Y Jagganath and former chairman Srinivas Gowda made it clear that the decision makers of the club should change their attitude and function like the other sports clubs and associations. It is also learnt that the CM is not happy with the high-handed approach of the men calling the shots when they were asked to exercise caution and remain patient for a week while dealing with a contentious issue.

Now with the racing in limbo, committee member Chaduranga Kanthraj, a member of the group which met the CM on Friday disclosed that after making his point that BTC needs to fall in line, the CM had offered to hold talks on the issue on Monday and the committee is hopeful of making peace.

“ I agree that in the past a couple of decisions including the increase in membership suggestion of the government from 350 to 500 of which the government wanted to nominate 75 didn’t go in the favour of the government but there was no intention to snub or defy.  We understand that we need the backing and support of the government and more importantly we are aware that we need to follow the government mandate,” said Kanthraj.

While pointing out that the alleged doping cover-up issue was needlessly blown out of proportion, Kantharaj revealed that the spanner in the summer racing wheel has hit hundreds of tote operators and many daily wage earners hard.  The small owners too are under pressure. It is a big setback for them taking into account that they need to pay hefty BTF without a chance for their horses to earn their cornbill.

When pointed out that government sources have informed a section of the press that the licence to conduct races will not be issued until the CID inquiry ordered by CM into the club affairs is completed, an influential former chairman said: “We are open and willing to go through the inquiry process, but it is important that we resume our racing. Bengaluru is the only premier centre which has a summer racing calendar and all other centres are eager that we start racing operations at the earliest.”

It is also learnt that the CID is not given a time frame to complete the task and that effectively means that the result of the probe will take time and time is running out for BTC.

A couple of leading pros including many outstation trainers, trifle dejected with the prevalent situation pointed out that the uncertainty and confusion has put them on the cross road. “Initially we were told that it will all start in June and now another week is lost and there is no guarantee that the starter will resume his duty next week. How long can we chop and change our preparatory training schedules. The horses don’t like it and everything goes out of gear,” said a top outstation pro hoping that Monday meeting with CM will be fruitful.

Well that is one good outside chance the BTC has and they need to make it count. We know that many horses with an outside chance emerge winners on their day. And Monday could well be BTC’s day. Fingers crossed till the sun sets on the appointed day.