After being infamous within his party for his public outbursts against the Commonwealth Games in the past few weeks, Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar became the flavour of the House, although in absentia, at the stormy opening day of the Monsoon Session of the Delhi Assembly on Tuesday.
Opposition Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee and a judicial probe to look into the alleged corruption in organizing the Games even as its MLAs used Aiyar's recent anti-Games remarks as ammunition for much chaos.
"A Rajya Sabha MP (Aiyar), nominated by none other than the government, has said that those who support the Games are evil," Leader of Opposition VK Malhotra told the House. "Going by that, the PM and the Sports Minister are evil. And so is the Delhi Chief Minister."
Not stopping at that, the BJP MLAs said the Congress-led government at the Centre had rewarded Aiyar for his constant tirade against the Games. "He (Aiyar) has been made the head of seven cultural organizations," Malhotra said.
That was not all. Later in the day when Congress's Subhash Chopra rose to reply to the BJP's allegations and listed the virtues of the Games, senior BJP leader Jagdish Mukhi and his colleagues said, "Tell all this to Mani Shankar Aiyar."
The pandemonium made CM Shiela Dikshit lose her cool and accuse BJP of "vitiating the atmosphere with needless protests." "You are poisoning the air against the Games and misleading the House," she shouted, interrupting Malhotra.
Rs 250 crores saved
"The government has actually saved Rs 250 crore in commissioning of various projects on time," PWD minister Rajkumar Chauhan told the House in response to the Opposition's allegations. "There has not been a single comment or indictment on any official by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), whose assessment is routine."
He also said only Rs. 3803 crores were being spent on Games projects, while as much as Rs. 16,198 crores has been spent on the Capital's overall development. The Opposition walked out of the House in response to the statement.
The first day of the five-day session began with chaos as police had to use water canons to quell a demonstration by around 100 BJP workers outside the Assembly demanding thorough probe into financial irregularities in the Games.