Kalmadi- Fix-it for Dixit!

As regards to Common Wealth Games-Delhi, what is the common agenda? It is this-Everybody is against Kalmadi. The question is why? Who told us that it’s Kalmadi? Well, it is the media. When everyone is so aroused against him, I should have chosen to be safe and agree with the majority. Well, I have chosen otherwise. We all know, problems are more associated with structure than with persons. But given a chance, we don’t hesitate to pick up stones. OK, if we have all choosen to throw (stones), whether in Iran or India, we must at least locate the right culprit.

There is not one piece of news where you don’t see the mess and then his face – the face of Suresh Kalmadi – which, the media tells us every moment- is the face of corruption. Actually, there is so much noise, that objectivity has disappeared for good. Along with Kalmadi, the media also targets Fannel and Hooper. We just stopped short of blaming the Queen. This is national shame, this impropriety, this blame game. We have fallen prey to a national sham.

Well, let me take a stand and present my points:-
1. Suresh Kalmadi is not responsible for the mess.
2. Suresh Kalmadi is not responsible for the delays.
3. Suresh Kalmadi will be responsible only between 3 October and 14 October 2010.

Suresh Kalmadi is the President of the IOA – Indian Olympic Association, whose chief business is to manage sports. Suresh Kalmadi as Chairman of CWG 2010 does not have any financial powers outside his domain. He is not responsible for acquiring land, contracting builders, and making stadiums and games village. He can be an observer and give periodic updates to the federation, but besides that he doesn’t have much say.

Let’s take the example of the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India). BCCI owns only the players. They have their own officials to manage the players and events, but it doesn’t own any stadiums in India. It has some stake in Brabourne Stadium, but besides that almost all the stadiums in the country is owned by the state, the associations by the state or the academy. By the way, Eden Gardens is owned by the Indian Army. It is the state government’s responsibility to see that the state cricket associations are  looking after the upkeep of its stadiums. Tamil Nadu government is making a new cricket stadium in Chennai for the 2011 World Cup. If the cricket stadium is not completed on time or turns out to have a horrible pitch, will the BCCI share the blame? Will the media then show Shashank Manohar as the new face of corruption?

Organizations like ICC (International Cricket Council), IOC (International Olympic Committee), IOA (Indian Olympic Association), CWF (Commonwealth Games Federation), IPL (Indian Premier League), and BCCI are known as Shell Organization. They are run by a group of people, almost handful, and their prime job is to define the governance on how the game is to be conducted. The revenue comes from sale of ticket and contracting media rights and logos etc. It has a very limited domain. Their job is also to review the stadiums and inform the association if it is not up to the mark. When Feroz Shah Kotla Pitch was bad, the ICC and BCCI did not start making the pitch. It reprimanded the Delhi Cricket association and banned it for some time. BCCI pays rent when it uses the stadiums. It’s not the BCCI’s or the ICC’s job to renovate or construct stadiums. Similarly the BCCI loans its players to IPL and IPL pays for the stadiums etc.

I want to make this point that the CWG and the OC (Organizing Committee) in India is not at all responsible of the mess which we see or what we are told to see. And you cannot blame Kalmadi because he is the President or the Chairman. Kalmadi’s job begins when the players populate the stadia and village. You can blame him when something goes wrong with the game itself.

But who is to be blamed actually! The person, who must be held responsible, is the lady who is doing a lot of hard work these days. It’s late in the game, and strangely, she has been able to avoid most of the criticisms. Sheila Dixit! Remember it’s CWG -Delhi. Not Kolkata, Chennai or Mumbai. Delhi has bid for the Game and it is the Government of Delhi who should provide for the infrastructure. All money which has disappeared, all delays, all incompletion is the responsibility of the Delhi Government. The Delhi Government took the credit of the new Airport and the Metro which were done for the CWG and very conveniently forgot the rest.

So, why is media targeting Kalmadi? It’s because, the media doesn’t want to target Sheila Dixit. Also, Kalmadi’s association with CWG gives him both, visibility and venerability. Another point going against Kalmadi, and which makes him media’s favourite whipping boy, is that he is Member of Parliament of the Congress party. Kalmadi becomes responsible as an MP, because that makes him answerable to the Union Government. But can the union government take action against him and on what basis. He is an MP from Pune. MP can be expelled if he is not performing in his constituency. But as a President of the IOA, the Government can’t touch him. If Kalmadi ever quits, it’s because the Government has hit him hardest where it hurts, his constituency. Refuse him a party ticket-if he doesn’t own up. It’s called political black mail.

I have very low opinion of the Indian media. And I hate the fact that the public accepts whatever is dished out, without contest. Sweeping generalization doesn’t require much effort. But when public opinion gets focused on wrong areas, it does great disservice to the actual issue. It’s like trying to cure headache by shooting the foot. If it is desired that the mess should not be repeated, it becomes all the more necessary for us get the right diagnosis.

Ms Sheila Dixit is the Chief Minister of Delhi since 1998, four Common Wealths’ back. It was in her reign that the game was bid. It was also the time when she won the Chair for the second term. She had enough time to get the infrastructure built. But what happened? Is anyone asking her this? Have you heard? Is the media giving you any indications?

Now, why is the media not highlighting her faults? There has to be a reason why the media is playing favourites. You will find NDTV’s Barkha Dutt asking useless questions to Kalmadi. Incidentally, NDTV gave best politicians award to Sheila Dixit. Sheila Dixit has also won the best Chief Ministership award from Journalist Association of India. Let’s accept it. She is the media favourite. Someone has to do some research on this. It seems she had bought the media. Did she give land or buildings or special rights to the media? Notably, most of the big media houses have Head Quarters in Delhi.

Probably, as an MP, Kalmadi is adviced to keep shut, accept and listen. Also, look like an idiot on TV which serves well to delude the viewers. He really has to work hard to save the Delhi government and the Union Government, to save himself. At the moment, saving the game is not so important. After all Kalmadi is a politician. He can stoop to conqueror. The question is – What are our options after the blame game is over? Answer – ZILCH!