The Call and Kalmadi

“Ma’am, I need to speak to you.”

“What is this about?” I asked.

“You are on our database…of socially conscious people.”

“I am sorry but it’s not possible.”

“Ma’am, don’t you have two minutes?”

“In two minutes I can get noodles ready, not social consciousness.”

I cannot believe they are reaching your doorstep to ask you questions. This call was from my building’s intercom and am glad the watchman checked to see if I had invited any “laidiss”.

This little anecdote of the afternoon takes us straight to the shoe/slipper or whatever footwear that was chucked at Suresh Kalmadi, Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chief and chor.

Let us get one thing clear – there will be many voices who will now claim that he was nailed because of the hoo-haa at Jantar Mantar and at the urban social dos they will discuss “how wonderful that we made it and exposed that fellow”. Hello, hello, Ms/Mr Social Conscious, when you run your half marathon in designer tracksuits, don’t forget who you are running with, okay? And at one time Kalmadi was One Of Them. Suave. Smart. Just a li’l bit Slimy. Great organiser, though. I recall his Pune Festivals. He had a good eye for laavni dancers.

So, for the past few months, there was a cry of “Kalmadi, Kal…maa….di” and how he gave deals to people at pumped up prices. He has finally been arrested. Now, some are saying it is just an “eyewash”.

Nitin Gadkari, the BJP’s spokesperson, is talking sizes:

“Kalmadi is a very small thing. He had a limited role of deciding the expenditure of just Rs.1,400 crore for the Commonwealth Games...Prime Minister Manmohan Singh must answer as to why only he (Kalmadi) was arrested when every file related to the CWG had signatures of a Group of Ministers (GoM), cabinet sub-committee, expenditure finance committee, Delhi chief minister and Prime Minister's Office ( PMO ). All those involved in the Rs.70,000 crore scam should be arrested.”

So, why was everyone barking out only Kalmadi’s name or “thing” all this while? He says he has proof:

“They can file a defamation suit against me if they believe I am making false statements.”

Looks like everyone wants to go to jail these days – whether it is on graft charges or defamation.

The real issue, not just for the Opposition parties (hardly clean themselves) but of certain members of civil society too who are suddenly talking the rightwing lingo, is the Congress. The CWG scam is huge, but how can everyone be arrested? Should the prime minister resign? What do resignations achieve? Kalmadi’s arrest is a big step because he did benefit, he was the one who was dealing with the agencies. Was he a front? Partly. But that is politics. In any field.

It is time, in fact, to ensure that politicians stay out of such sports events. Throw out all those running the major sports organisations and bring in former players, though they too have ulterior motives, especially if they are in prominent fields like cricket or tennis. Yet, at least they will be a tad better than politicians.

The other parties are only gearing for elections. That is all. Here is Gadkari:

“The Congress party has also not taken any significant steps to curb terrorism.”

I wish these politicians stuck to an issue and took it to its logical conclusion, instead of such diversions. Or is their concern mere ‘eyewash’ too?

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