PM steps in, sets 24-hour deadline
It was dubbed a “standard review to ascertain the status of the games”, but everyone knew it was anything but that. This, after all, was a day when the entire Delhi government machinery, from the Chief Minister to the MCD’s junior-most dog-catcher, made the Commonwealth Games Village the city’s most happening spot.
On Thursday night, with a cynical India watching and the rest of the world mocking, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh waded into the mess that is our Commonwealth Games with one message: Enough.
While no official statement was forthcoming from the PM’s office, sources told Hindustan Times the PM had told civic agencies overseeing operation clean-up inside the beleaguered Games Village they had until Friday night to get their houses in order — effectively setting a 24-hour deadline.
The Indian government also got in touch with governments of Australia, New Zealand and Scotland on Thursday and were due to call up the governments of England and Canada, among others, to assure them the Games were not “falling apart”.
“After the spate of controversies and bad press across the globe, the government-to-government contact was needed to reassure influential countries on issues like safety, security and health,” said a source. “We don’t want pullouts”.
Meanwhile Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi, a glaring omission from the list of invitees — Delhi CM Sheila Dixit, Lt Governor Tejender Khanna, Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy and Sports Minister M.S. Gill were all called to the PM’s residence — made his usual statement. “We believe there will be no serious complaints anymore. And we believe no teams will pull out of the Games.”