The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday launched an all-out attack on the Central and Delhi governments for the alleged irregularities in the conduct of the Commonwealth Games. It said the heads of both governments did not have the right to be in office. It suggested that all records pertaining to the conduct of the Games be placed in Parliament.
Initiating a short duration discussion in the Rajya Sabha on Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Ajay Maken's August 3 statement, blaming the appointment of Suresh Kalmadi as Organising Committee chief on the NDA, Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh overruled officials in the appointment of Mr. Kalmadi, and it was not the NDA government's decision, as being made out.
“It is too big a scandal for the buck to stop at one man. Whether it is the government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi or the Central government through its various agencies, none of them must escape responsibility. And if heads are to roll…, it must be the heads of these governments because they were the ones who were entrusted with the primary responsibility as far as the people of India are concerned,” he said.
During the inconclusive debate, the proceedings were adjourned twice. A verbal duel broke out after remarks by a BJP member on Sonia Gandhi prompted Congress members to demand an apology. The issue was resolved after the member expressed regret.
Mr. Jaitley said the official bid document, countersigned by both the Central and Delhi governments, and the final contract between the Commonwealth Games Federation and the Indian Olympic Association envisaged a government nominee heading the Organising Committee. However, a private entity under Mr. Kalmadi was created in 2005, which was funded by the taxpayers' money.
He said the 1982 Asian Games Organising Committee was headed by the then Union Ministers, while the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister led the committee overseeing the conduct of the Afro-Asian Games in Hyderabad. Furthermore, successive Sports Ministers Sunil Dutt, Mani Shankar Aiyar and M.S. Gill had drawn the government's attention to Mr. Kalmadi's appointment.
The Congress response through Raashid Alvi fell short on content. He said Mr, Jaitley, as the Law Minister in the NDA regime, suggested that arbitration for the Games be under Indian laws, but was over-ruled by his own government.
Mr. Alvi, who came in as replacement for Abhishek Manu Singhvi, also mentioned of a report that several political leaders who were with the NDA were party to an IOA resolution backing Mr. Kalmadi for chairman of the Organising Committee.