In a shocking announcement on Tuesday, Commonwealth Games (CWG) scam accused Suresh Kalmadi and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader Abhay Chautala, who has been chargesheeted for allegedly possessing assets far exceeding his legal income, were appointed as life presidents of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
In a shocking announcement on Tuesday, Commonwealth Games (CWG) scam accused Suresh Kalmadi and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader Abhay Chautala, who has been chargesheeted for allegedly possessing assets far exceeding his legal income, were appointed as life presidents of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). Shockingly, Sports Minister Vijay Goel may have voiced his displeasure, but he has also indicated his helplessness at not being able to stop this move. In fact, he ended up asking for a public law that would put governance of such sports institutions under him. But is the Narendra Modi government going to plead for a public law?
Remember, it was brought to power with a huge mandate by the people of the country in the wake of the former PM Manmohan Singh led UPA government’s inability to crack down and prevent corruption and political manipulation at the highest levels that had shocked the public and hurt the image of the country at the global level. And if Goel is now left spouting words that are not backed by the force of law, then what has the Modi government done since it came to power to prevent shameful occurrences like this happening? No effort is visible in Parliament or at any other fora where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders so often speak. They seem to have adopted an ostrich-like attitude or they are allowing bygones to be bygones. Kalmadi and Chautala knew the furore that would arise through this appointments and yet they have successfully managed to thumb their noses at the government for its inability to stop them – that is the biggest shock of them all!
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One of PM Narendra Modi’s most quoted phrases during the period leading up to the general elections was that ‘acche din’ would come to India if the public elected him to power. The people did so. Enough time has elapsed and yet ghosts of Commonwealth games are still allowed to run around with impunity. Are they so powerful as to force prime ministers to break their promises made to the public? Is the government admitting it is not powerful enough to stop wrongdoing of all sorts? Manmohan SIngh was by repute a very honest man, and yet corruption under him skyrocketed. Surely, it can’t be the case that the Sports Minister is putting up his hands. He has asked for a report, but has not promised to undo the appointment. If laws and rules are standing in the way, then it is his duty to get them altered so that the public at large is reassured that the old corrupt Congress era is over once and for all and that the Modi government is contributing to that effort rather than allowing things to deteriorate further.
A different, more vibrant and honest polity was expected to be introduced by Narendra Modi government, but ostensibly, it is business as usual. The old Congress patronage train is chugging away merrily and the likes of Kalmadi and Chautala clan are unaffected at all by any crackdown. The fight has to be taken to the International Olympic Committee and rules must get re-framed, there is no choice. Action must be taken and people tainted by scams must be prevented from occupying positions of power – they soil the high posts they administer. India demands justice. The ball is in Narendra Modi court.