Malhotra will have a contest in an AAI elections for the first time after he took office in 1973. In the last 40 years he has been elected unopposed as president.
Rao has fielded his two supporters for the posts of senior vice-president and treasurer while Andhra Pradesh official Anil Kamineni had been elected unopposed as Secretary after the nomination of candidates was closed yesterday.
Ibopishak Singh, Secretary Archery Association of Manipur, will contest against Malhotra's man and IOA vice-president Tarlochan Singh for the senior vice-president's post while Sadhananda Das of Orissa will take on Virendra Sachdeva of Delhi.
Rao, a former IAS and UN official and now Clean Sports India convener, has charged Malhotra of trying to bring in people who have nothing to do with archery.
"My two candidates Ibopishak and Sadhananda have done lot of work for archery in their states for the last 20 years. But who are these people Malhotra is putting up. He is trying to bring in people from his coterie who has nothing to do with archery," Rao said.
Supporters of Malhotra were equally confident of the veteran adminstrator's victory in the election and pointed out that India have started doing well at the international level under his leadership.
"India have emerged as a force to reckon with in archery at the international level and Malhotra and his team's contribution has been immense. They have the support of the other members", a senior AAI official said on condition of anonimity.
The electoral college, which has been declared by Returning Officer Justice (Retd) J D Kapoor under Delhi High Court orders, has 102 members with each state unit getting three votes and each organisation/sports boards one vote.
Rao is confident of his prospects in the elections and said that the members will vote for a change in guard. He said that Malhotra's election might also lead to a situation where the government may de-recognise AAI as he cannot contest elections.
"Malhotra has been trying to continue at his post as his fiefdom. This is going to be the first contest for president's post in 40 years since he took office. I am confident the archery fraternity wants change," he said.
"There is also a prospect that government may derecognise AAI if Malhotra is elected. He cannot contest elections under the Sports Code. Then what will happen to archery if AAI does not get funds from government?" he asked.
The AAI elections have been mired in controversy as it was postponed thrice earlier with Delhi High Court directing the returning officer to declare the electoral college after charges were levelled against Malhotra of manipulation.
The electoral college now include three North Eastern states -- Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Tripura -- who were not given voting rights by AAI earlier.
A case is still pending at the Delhi High Court on a petition by lawyer Rahul Mehra, praying the court to direct the AAI to conduct the polls under the National Sports Development Code which has age and tenure restriction provisions.