Responding to Mani Shankar Aiyer's remarks against the Commonwealth Games, Suresh Kalmadi said, "If Aiyar had been the Sports Minister, no stadia would have been ready."
View here NDTV's interview with Suresh Kalmadi
Other reactions:(Headlines Today Bureau)
Kalmadi slams AiyarWhile the Congress tried to play down the former minister's statement, the CWG OC chairperson and himself a Congress MP, Suresh Kalmadi, hit back at Aiyar for his taunts on the preparation for the gala sporting event scheduled in October.
Kalamdi said that India would not have got the world class stadiums had Mani Shankar Aiyar still been the sports minister.
"Everyday he is coming on one channel or the other. Mr Mani shankar Aiyar, nobody can spoil the Commonwealth Games," Kalmadi said tersely, adding, "If Aiyar would have continued as the sports minister, no stadium would have been ready."
Delhi CM promises to deliver
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit however declined to comment on Aiyar's remarks. Instead, she promised to prove her critics wrong.
Dikshit said that her government has left nothing to chance. She also promised to deliver on the CWG deadline by Sepetember.
Lok Sabha Member and son of Delhi chief minister -- Sandeep Dikshit -- however reacted to Aiyar's statement. "So what if he is a Congress party member. I don't take him seriously. Those who do, should listen to him," he said.
Party spokesperson Manish Tiwari said, "It is his personal view. He is a nominated member. I will not say anything on his statement. Organisation of Commonwealth Games in Delhi is a matter of pride for the country."
Another senior Congress MP Jagdambika Pal said, "These issues should have been discussed in party forum not outside. At this time leaders should back up the government so that the Commonwealth Games go well."
Opposition flays Aiyar
Not only the ruling party, but even the main opposition party BJP also took cognisance of Aiyar's statement. The party, which has also raised questions about the preparations and the manner in which funds are being used, said irresponsible statements should not be made on the issue."The central and state government should understand that prestige of the country is associated with the Commonwealth Games. Irresponsible statements should not be made on the issue," BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
Taking exception to Aiyar's remarks, Samajwadi Party said that those opposing the Games were doing so for "sadistic pleasure".
"We are not sadists. Those who are opposing the Games are doing so for sadistic pleasure. Such language should not be used. We are in favour of the Commonwealth Games but the huge funds which have been blown up should be investigated. The Games could have been held for much less," SP spokesperson Mohan Singh said.