We need strong leadership for Mahalaxmi

By mid day correspondent | Mumbai

The run-ups to the polls featured slanging matches between rival teams, which were vitriolic and vengeful. This time, compared to earlier, the kings of controversy have been much lower key. That is the way it should be

Today, Mumbai's high profile Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) will hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the picture postcard Mahalaxmi racecourse. The results of the elections for the new RWITC committee will be announced post the AGM, late evening. Bitter pre-election campaigns have marked the club's history. The run-ups to the polls featured slanging matches between rival teams, which were vitriolic and vengeful. This time, compared to earlier, the kings of controversy have been much lower key. That is the way it should be.

Mahalaxmi is more than a racecourse for Mumbai. It is a vital open space the current custodians of which is the RWITC committee. While the committee's primary aim is to improve racing facilities for the public and conduct the sport, it is to them that the Mumbai public looks up to when it comes to safeguarding and preserving the lung of SoBo.

That, in fact should be priority for the new committee set to take over after Thursday. One can never take one's eye off the ball, so to speak, when it comes to the racecourse. The Mahalaxmi bowl of green is tremendously coveted. We have seen numerous takeover attempts. These have come in different guises and have political muscle behind them. The racecourse denizens have valiantly fended them off, but there is enough reason to be eternally vigilant.

This makes it even more important that a united, strong committee is at the helm of the club. Racing itself has several huge challenges, including how to bring more people into the racecourse, turn around the finances, added to the task of saving Mahalaxmi. Put behind factionalism and infighting. Forge ahead with a single agenda. The racecourse, preservation of the existing space, and the sport needs great will and strength that cannot come from a fractured frontline.

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