Commonwealth Games 2010

CWG 2010 had its share of drama - bungled preparations,a redeeming opening,some excellent Indian performances and organised chaos that is typical of India.The media went from despair to euphoria and the usual target was Kalmadi.But 'Business Standard' possibly had the most balanced and objective take after the event.

Heads must roll

Games ended well, but all was not well. 
Business Standard / New Delhi October 18, 2010, 0:36 IST

India’s sportspersons have every reason to be proud of their performance at the 19th Commonwealth Games. While not too many world and Olympic records were broken, the impressive performance of Indian sportspersons, especially women, has done the nation proud. Kudos also to the organisers of the events and to Delhi police and security forces for their handling of security and traffic management. New Delhi was not the chaos many feared it would be. The opening and closing ceremonies were competently handled, even if the telecast was poor and the show failed to inspire, seeking merely to entertain. While the Games ended well, all was certainly not well with the organisation and those guilty of corruption, inefficiency and mismanagement should be punished. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did well not to waste time instituting a high-level enquiry by former Comptroller and Auditor General V K Shunglu. This is welcome activism on the part of the prime minister. Hopefully, it signals a new style. Dr Singh has been far too retiring in his ways in the first year of his second term. The nation would welcome a more assertive prime minister and a more energetic government.

To facilitate a fair enquiry, the ministers and officials whose role may come under scrutiny should be asked to step down till the enquiry is over. To begin with, Suresh Kalmadi should be asked to step down from all his current positions, including from the Indian Olympic Association. Whistleblower protection should be ensured to enable those in the know to depose before the commission of enquiry. The roll call of punishment must begin with former Union sports minister Mani Shankar Aiyar. He should be made to give up his seat in Parliament for the ignominy he has heaped on his government, his party and the country. Next, Union ministers M S Gill and Jaipal Reddy should resign from their present positions. Mr Gill’s improprieties, a former chief election commissioner joining a political party and becoming a minister, are many. His unacceptable behaviour towards sportspersons and his incompetent leadership at the ministry are adequate reasons for his retirement from public life. Mr Reddy too failed to deliver at the ministry of urban development. Then come three government functionaries — the Lt Governor of Delhi, the Union cabinet secretary and the principal secretary to the prime minister. All three failed in providing leadership even after they were specifically asked to step in and stem the rot and get things going. Most of the last-mile issues could have been avoided if these worthies had been more competent and provided better leadership in the six months preceding the Games. As for Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, the voters of Delhi will have to take a view at the appropriate time. She has argued that she was never empowered to be able to deliver. This is a fair defence. Delhi needs a clear line of command for it to function efficiently as a national Capital. The jury is out on her culpability. But all the other heads must roll.


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