Ruckus in Parliament Over Kalmadi’s Appointment as OC Chief

BeyondHeadlines Staff Reporter

New Delhi:  A war of words broke out between the opposition and the treasury benches in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) shouting slogans against Congress president Sonia Gandhi for her role in appointing Suresh Kalmadi as chief of the Commonwealth Games. Kalmadi is now in jail for his alleged role in irregularities in CWG projects.

“The road goes from (Sheila) Dikshit to Manmohan (Singh) and then to Sonia Gandhi’s house,” said BJP President Nitin Gadkari.

An aggressive BJP is leaving no stone unturned in its war on the government over the Commonwealth Games fiasco. The party led the Opposition attack in Parliament saying that the buck did not stop with Kalmadi and that more heads must roll.

Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha also made fun of the Congress’s attempts to put the blame on the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), by saying Kalmadi was appointed during the NDA regime. “Kalmadi ka haalat Munni jaisa hua, jaise Munni badnaam hui, (Kalmadi’s fate is like that of Munni. Just when Munni falls from grace) Congress wants to dump him at our door,” he said.

The BJP also pointed out that even if the government’s allegations against the NDA regime were true that they had appointed Kalmadi, the Congress were at liberty to remove him.

Outside Parliament, at its main gate, barricades were erected and security alerted as BJP protesters gathered to demand the ouster of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who has been faulted by the government’s auditor for overspending. BJP workers jumped barricades and threw things at the police, causing them to respond with water cannons.

Earlier in the morning, that demand for Dikshit’s removal led to an uproar and adjournment of both the Lok and the Rajya Sabha. Proceedings first resumed in the Rajya Sabha post noon and the government agreed to a limited debate on Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken’s statement in the Lok Sabha last week that Kalmadi had been appointed the head of the Games organizing committee during the NDA regime. The Lok Sabha subsequently reconvened later at 2 p.m.

Arun Jaitley, leader opposition in the Rajya Sabha, countered Maken’s statement saying it was ridiculous for the Congress to blame the BJP for Kalmadi’s appointment. He added that there was an attempt by the Congress to hide all facts relating to the Games. “The Commonwealth Games was a monumental deception. If heads are to roll then it must be heads of this government,” he said.

Also accusing Maken of misleading Parliament, the BJP counter claimed that the PMO was responsible for appointing Kalmadi as the head of the Organising Committee. They also demanded Delhi’s Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s resignation over the games.

Outside, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kuman Bansal questioned the BJP’s tactics.  “Unfortunately, again, they (BJP) have disrupted the House and not let the Question Hour be taken up. There was a basic understanding that the legislative body must run smoothly. Today, we saw a sudden change in the BJP’s stance. It raises genuine doubts in our mind whether they are serious about dialogue,” Bansal said.

The Congress is standing behind Dikshit and says the CAG report, which claims there was mass corruption in the organization of the games, should be first cleared by a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament.


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