Former sports minister criticises India’s hosting of Commonwealth Games

July 28, 2010

India’s former sports minister, Mani Shankar Aiyar, has criticised the decision to host the Commonwealth Games in Delhi later this year when poverty is still rife in the country.

Aiyar said: “Thousands of millions [of rupees] are being spent on circuses [2010 Commonwealth Games] like these while the common children are being deprived of basic facilities to play.”

Aiyar went on to say that he would be happy if the monsoons ruined the Games. “I am very happy with the rains – firstly because it will ensure a good agriculture for the country and secondly it will ensure that the Commonwealth Games are spoilt. I will be happy if the Games are spoilt.”

Organising Committee chairman of the Games, Suresh Kalmadi has reacted to Aiyar’s comments by saying: “No individual can spoil the Games. It is a totally irresponsible and ridiculous statement from such a senior person.

“Aiyar should know his responsibilities and think before making such a statement, especially with the Games coming up shortly.

“He is an elected member of the Rajya Sabha [Upper House of Parliament] and what he has said is against the interest of the country.

“It was because of his brashness that he was removed from the Sports Minister’s post. If he would have been the minister, the Commonwealth Games would never have come to India.”

The Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games will be held between 3 and 14 October.