Commonwealth Games linked to country’s prestige: Congress leaders

July 28th, 2010 - 5:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Mani Shankar Aiyar New Delhi, July 28 (IANS) A day after Congress MP Mani Shankar Aiyar slammed the Commonwealth Games, many of his party colleagues frowned at the remarks, saying the showpiece event involved the country’s prestige and the focus should be on its success.
“There is no time to criticise and point fingers. India’s prestige is involved. India’s face should be saved. We should make all endeavours to make it (the Games) successful,” Congress MP Rajiv Shukla told IANS.

With about two months left for the Oct 3-14 Games, Shukla said there was no point in pinpointing loopholes.

“Everybody should keep quiet,” he said.

Referring to verbal duel Monday between Aiyar and Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi, Shukla said any disputes can be settled after the Games were over.

“My humble request is don’t criticise each other,” Shukla said.

Minister of State for Home Ajay Maken said: “Aiyar should not have made such remarks.”

He said that money had not only been spent on the Games preparations but also on improving Delhi’s infrastructure.

“Look at the Metro and flyovers. It is not only sports stadiums (that have been built),” Maken said.

He said that as an MP from Delhi and a resident of the city, he was proud that the Games were being held here.

The Congress’ Delhi unit chief, J.P. Agarwal, said that the Games were linked to the prestige of the country.

“We have to show that we are capable of holding such Games. Only then will the country get events like the Olympics,” Agarwal told IANS.

Aiyar Tuesday let forth a volley of criticism against the Commonwealth Games. Terming the hype over it “sickening”, he said he would be unhappy if the Games were successful.

Aiyar, a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha, wondered why 150 condom vending machines were being installed at Games Village, asking: “What Games are these people coming to play?”

While the Congress party distanced itself from his comments, Games Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi blasted Aiyar, terming him “anti-national”.

Kalmadi, a Congress member of the Lok Sabha, said that India could never have hosted the Games if Aiyar had continued as the sports minister.

Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmed distanced the party from Aiyar’s remarks.

“I don’t know in what context he (Aiyar) has said this. Since the Games are being held in India, we hope they are successful,” Ahmed said.

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