BJP raises CWG pitch
The main opposition BJP today brought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the line of fire on the CWG mess, alleging that it was he who overruled then sports minister Sunil Dutt and officials to appoint disgraced Suresh Kalmadi as chief of the Organising Committee in 2006.delhi Updated: Aug 10, 2011 00:15 IST
The BJP on Tuesday brought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit under fire over lapses and mismanagement of the Commonwealth Games.
Initiating a short duration discussion on CWG in Rajya Sabha, Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley accused the PM of overlooking objections raised by the sports ministry, cabinet secretary and his own office on Suresh Kalmadi’s appointment as chairman of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee.
The discussion was triggered by a statement by Ajay Maken, minister of state for sports in Parliament on August 3 regarding the Commonwealth Games.
Maken’s statement blamed the NDA regime for Kalmadi’s appointment as CWG organising panel chief.
“If heads are to roll in this, it must be the heads of these governments (Centre and Delhi) because they are the ones who were really entrusted with the primary responsibility as far as the people of India are concerned,” Jaitley said on Tuesday.
But the BJP’s efforts to bring UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi into the debate on Games’s controversy resulted in a series of adjournments as Congress members rose in protest.
Jaitley said taking a cue from the PM’s decision on December 6, 2004, a group of ministers, headed by late Arjun Singh, also batted for Kalmadi’s appointment. He said it went against the principle that the organising committee would be a non-profit government-owned registered society, headed by a government appointee.
Jaitley charged Maken with committing “monumental deception” on the country by not revealing the complete truth about Kalmadi’s appointment. Stressing that the BJP-led NDA government had nothing to do with Kalmadi’s appointment, Jaitley demanded that all files pertaining to the issue be brought to the House for scrutiny.
Turning the heat on the PM, Jaitley said, “It is too big a scandal for the buck to stop at one man (Kalmadi).” He said the government and the agencies involved could not escape responsibility.
Jaitley heaped praise on former sports ministers late Sunil Dutt, Mani Shankar Aiyar and MS Gill for complaining against Kalmadi. “Former ministers are the best witnesses,” he said, with Gill and Aiyar present in the House.
The BJP leader mentioned Kalmadi’s letter to PM’s principal secretary in 2007 in which it was stated that his appointment as OC chief followed “a series of meetings” with the UPA chief and the PM.