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Factionalism erupts in FHRAI before AGM; key leaders oppose move to amend constitution

Thursday, September 21, 2017, 15:15 Hrs  [IST]
By P Krishna Kumar | New Delhi

Factionalism has erupted in the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India (FHRAI) in the run up to the Annual General Meeting (AGM) scheduled on September 23 in Delhi with key leaders opposing the Executive Committee’s move to bring in a Constitutional Amendment to remove the 12-year-tenure provision for EC members that will become effective from September, 2018. FHRAI had amended their constitution in 2010 stipulating maximum 12 years for Executive Committee members in the Federation. As per the 2010 amendment, an EC member can remain in office only for 8 years continuously, and again for a four-year term, after a gap of two years.

By bringing an amendment to supersede the 2010 amendment, a major faction in the FHRAI suspects a move by some vested interests to control the Federation and remain in the Executive Committee for life time through proxy votes.

Suresh Talera, Managing Director, Talera Hospitality and former President of HRAWI, who played a key role in bringing the amendment in 2010, has written a letter to the Secretary General of FHRAI on September 19, which Hospitality Biz has access to, raising objections for including Special Business Item 4 seeking approval for alteration of Articles of Association of FHRAI. “The obvious and the only reason for the proposed special business is in fact that several existing members of the Executive Committee would stand barred from holding such a post in view of having completed maximum of 8 years or 12 years, as the case may be.  In such a situation, putting up the matter as a special business in such a manner is self-serving, selfish, unjustified, and therefore, oppressive mismanagement,” Talera says in his letter. “It’s too much of greed for power on the part of certain people.  We will oppose this in the AGM at all cost.  If we don’t succeed, we will approach the court,” he said in a telephonic with Hospitality Biz.

“We changed the constitution in 2010 in order to prevent a small caucus from controlling the Federation permanently by proxy votes. The Federation was becoming a geriatric club. It was weakening the association. The amendment was passed unanimously in 2010 and about to come into effect from September, 2018. To our surprise we found a proposal to amend the constitution again by the present committee in the AGM notification issued to the members. They want to go back to the earlier system and remain permanently in the EC. This is ridiculous, and we want to defeat the motion,” said Jose Dominic, Managing Director, CGH Earth Hotels.

Vijay Pande, former President of HRANI, also opposed the move to amend the constitution.  He said that people with no understanding of the hospitality industry are behind the move to usurp more than INR 300 crore worth of assets of the Federation. “How will new blood come into the leadership if people remain in the EC for life time?” he asked.

With two sides all set for a show down by mustering support, the AGM on September 23 at Le Meridien New Delhi will be stormy.  The official faction would require 75% of the votes to see the amendment motion through. “This means, they have to get three votes in their favour against every single vote opposing the motion. That will not be easy,” said Dominic.

 
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