Guilty of games

India broke all records by winning 38 gold, 27 silver and 36 bronze medals in the Commonwealth Games and taking the tally to its best ever with 101 medals. We had issues before the Commonwealth Games started but I think we have to reflect on several aspects before any punitive action is initiated. While we all can dwell on the negatives, I think it is time to also reflect on the positives.

I visited all the stadiums and observed procedures and schedules during the Games and can confidently say that barring minor glitches in the distribution of tickets, we did well.
It was good to see both Mrs Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi at the Games, but I wish more VIPs had visited the Games’ venues. Clearly, in the last 10 days the “positives” have wiped out the negatives. The outcome of the racial slurs and deliberate India-bashing that was undertaken by certain elements abroad was eventually positive. Despite apologies and action initiated, it speaks very poorly of those involved.
The big picture must be taken into account before taking any political decisions. While the “reform” process is necessary, the fact is that the Games were a huge success. So before the government acts, it must also consider the deliberate India-bashing by vested quarters.
While it is true that a few in authority bungled, many also performed to the best of their abilities. We must especially give credit to the Indian sportspersons who performed brilliantly, as well as some of the sports associations. We may well see a new generation of athletes emerging in the immediate future and if we are going to play the blame-game, then the government must remember that the major reason for the delay and mess was the fact that after the Games were sanctioned in 2003, very little happened till 2008. The group of ministers, along with sports minister M.S. Gill, are together responsible for lack of action between 2003 and 2008.

ONCE AGAIN, Sachin Tendulkar has done India proud by scoring his 49th Test century. What can one say about a living legend who gets better with age? It is a privilege for all of us to watch him play.
The Indian Premier League (IPL) controversy has grabbed media and public attention again. Clearly, the Board of Control for Cricket in India, with its new president Shashank Manohar, has an advantage and almost everyone agrees that he has an impeccable record of integrity.
Former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi has set hurdles for himself by staying away from India. His absence will further complicate matters for three IPL teams — Kings XI Punjab, Rajasthan Royals and the Kochi franchisee. There are reports of the money trail leading to the British Virgin Islands and the Bahamas and I sincerely hope that there will be no vendetta against these teams.
The fact of the matter is that almost everyone was close to Mr Modi when he was making the IPL a super success and he is making a serious error in not coming to India and clearing his name. His absence will only implicate others who are innocent and have done no wrong.
The matter will, no doubt, go into litigation and I sincerely hope that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the income-tax (IT) department will be able to trace the chain of money and identify the people behind these transactions. We may be looking at things beyond cricket in this battle for control.

THE SOAP OPERA in Karnataka has finally ended with the Yeddyurappa government surviving a second trust vote in the state Assembly with a slender majority. I wonder if there will be any winners in this situation as I can only see losers.
It is tragic to watch a state becoming a victim of various financial interests, be it politics, mining or real estate. Political authority no longer has the final say in several decisions and we will all pay a very heavy price for this mafia-like control on the state’s purse strings. I think it is time that the voter exerted the right to save his state from financial chaos.
The Congress has failed to make any electoral impact in the state and can only gain from the current situation if it maintains a distance from the “political auction” taking place in the state.
The action of governor H.S. Bharadwaj has not been favourable but then, everyone is aware that only party loyalists are given these positions and this cuts across political parties. It was no surprise that the governor gave the chief minister a second opportunity for a trust vote.

GUJARAT CHIEF MINISTER Narendra Modi showed his popularity by winning six crucial municipal elections — Ahmedabad, Surat, Baroda, Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Jamnagar. There was the usual speculation that a low voter turnout will hurt the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). But, as we know, a high or low turnout does not indicate a trend.
The Congress cannot defeat Mr Modi by sustained media campaigns on loyal TV channels or by efforts of a pliable Central Bureau of Investigation, the ED or the IT, and it would be very unfortunate if the courts are dragged into any controversy.
Political battles can only be won or lost by politicians and Mr Modi is without doubt the best chief minister Gujarat has had — on grounds of performance and integrity he ranks as “the best”.
The Congress needs Mrs Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to lead the charge. My overall political assessment remains unchanged and, despite the Janata Dal (United)-BJP victory in Bihar, I see the Congress improving in the state and they, along with the regional parties like the JD(U), Biju Janatal Dal, the Trinamul Congress, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Bahujan Samaj Party, seem to be gaining, or at least consolidating, their position in the state.

Arun Nehru is a former Union minister

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