Continuing his tirade against the just-concluded Commonwealth Games, former Sports Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar on Monday said India should have focused on improving the plight of its poor instead of spending thousands of crores on the event which only "denigrated" its image.
"Tell me if your stadium is empty why not invite the children of those labourers who built the stadium to come in and sit down," Aiyar, the most vocal critic of the Delhi Commonwealth Games, told PTI.
"But no, this was a middle class party." "So only PLUs (people like us) were given the opportunity of coming in and they didn't come in adequate numbers," the Congress MP said, noting that 960 crores spent on renovating the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium could have been put to better use.
Aiyar also claimed that no single event had done more damage to India's image in the past 63 years since independence than the recent Commonwealth Games.
"I don't think the world has ever denigrated us and in such obscene language as we have seen happening in the past few weeks," he said.
"70,000 crores to get ourselves a bad name," the former minister said, referring to the total amount spent on the 12-day mega sporting event.
On whether the Games were a success as declared by the Indian government, Aiyar claimed that the event had failed to position India as a top player on the global stage.
"I'm not sure we've attained the objective we had of projecting ourselves as a great rising economic power to the Western world or even to Africa," he said.