With just 299 days left for the 19th Commonwealth Games to start in Delhi, the Games Organising Committee (OC) has been struck by another controversy.
On Monday, at its annual general body meeting, OC chairman Suresh Kalmadi announced the decision to expel former Union Sports Minister and BJP MP Vijay Goel from the membership of the Games Organising Committee “for indiscipline”.
Action against Goel, who has launched a tirade against the OC for “its failure to check delays in the various Games related project and overshooting its budget”, was being contemplated for sometime.
The immediate trigger was the march organised by the former BJP MP on Sunday to highlight “the lack of accountability in the OC’s functioning”.
“It was unbecoming of an OC member to demonstrate with 1,000 people outside the Games headquarters. Goel not only led the demonstrators but also shouted slogans against the OC,” said a senior OC member who did not want to be named as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
“His conduct has lowered the dignity of the OC. This is not the right platform to voice your concerns. If he had issues with the way OC is functioning, he could have met the chairman and other senior members and discussed the problems.”
Goel, on his part, lashed out against the OC for functioning in a “dictatorial” way.
“What is wrong in raising such critical issues on a public forum? I, as a member, have every right to ask the OC about how it is spending the tax payer’s money,” he said.
“There is no accountability in the OC. Nobody is doing anything to see that crucial games projects get completed on time.”
“I was the Union Sports Minister when India bid for the Commonwealth Games 2003,” he added.
“OC is yet to recruit the 30,000 volunteers. When will it train the volunteers? Is anybody monitoring how OC is spending its budget. In the name of the Games they are just getting the budget sanctioned.”
This is not the first time Kalmadi has invited trouble. In October, he had called the Games federation chief operating officer Mike Hooper “useless” and a “serious impediment”.
He had announced the Indian Olympic Association’s decision to repatriate Hooper back from OC but was later forced to change his decision.