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Gill’s removal leaves bad taste in the mouth

columns Updated: Jan 22, 2011 00:10 IST
Pradeep magazine
Pradeep magazine
Hindustan Times
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It is not a comforting thought to find a person, despite all his foibles, being blocked midstream from doing what a majority of us believed was the right course to pursue. That MS Gill is no more the sports minister is good news for all those sports officials who felt threatened because their hegemony and autocratic ways were being challenged.

In a country where accountability is non-existent and people get away with even murder if they have the right connections, Gill was making attempts to usher in revolutionary changes in the country’s sports administration.

He may have had his flaws, may have stumbled once in a while and may have peeved the media by either ignoring them or saying the wrong things at the wrong time, but in the end he meant well and had the right intent.

A successful former bureaucrat, whose integrity no one questions, Gill was made sports minister when just two years were left for the Commonwealth Games. Everything was in a mess, nothing was ready. In the end, despite all the mismanagement and corruption charges against the CWG Organising Committee and other wings of the state responsible for building infrastructure for the Games, India did manage to hold a highly successful event. The loot in the name of the Games is being probed and many are being accused or charged with corruption but not a single finger has so far been pointed at Gill.

Has his fault been that in the process of trying to implement government guidelines and in trying to restrict the tenures of federation officials, he has ruffled the feathers of powerful people? When the state is funding sports in the country isn’t it their right to demand accountability and know where the money is being spent?

All along, we knew what is wrong with our sports. But no one had the courage to confront the issue and take on, what many call, the "sports mafia".

That Gill did precisely that should have been appreciated and if he did make a few "mistakes" in the process of this "cleansing act" he could have been cautioned and not treated in this manner.

Is it a mere coincidence that he finds himself out of the ministry within a couple of days of having questioned the unbridled might of the BCCI?

Sharad Pawar, the man who runs international cricket and was till a year back presiding over Indian cricket, is still the agriculture minister. And we all know what is happening on the food front. One only hopes that the new incumbent, Ajay Maken, carries the legacy of Gill forward and does not subvert the work done by his predecessor.

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