CHURUMURI POLL: Is Mani Aiyar ‘anti-national’?

The Oxford-educated IFS officer turned Congress politician, Mani Shankar Aiyar—the man who introduced the word ‘limpets‘ into the political discourse—has flung a small pebble into his rasam tumbler,  by publicly asserting that he would be “unhappy” if the Commonwealth Games in Delhi are successful.

Furthermore, he has said those who patronise the games “can only be evil, they cannot be God.”

Aiyar’s reasoning is that the Rs 35,000 crore that he alleges has been spent on the Games could have been better spent on children instead of splurging it on building and renovating stadiums, decorating roads, etc, that Delhi seems to be merrily doing in the name of athletes of the Queen’s former colonies who, by a not so curious turn of fate, have decided not to avail the world-class facilities which so far have been proved to be decidedly third-class.

Additionally, Aiyar, who opposed the Commonwealth Games as sports minister during UPA-I and actually hailed the loss of India’s 2014 Asian games bid, says it would be good for the country if the Games fail because that would stop the Asian Games and Olympic Games and other such global circuses from coming to India.

As if to underline the point that the penultimate resort of scoundrels is to take cover under patriotism, the Games’ organiser, Indian Olympic Association bossman Suresh Kalmadi, has termed Aiyar’s comments irresponsible and called him “anti-national”.

Questions: Is Mani Shankar Aiyar “anti-national” for saying what he did? Is it wrong to question a mega event, sporting or otherwise, merely because the nation’s name and prestiage is attached to it? Or is Aiyar merely playing to the exclusive corporate box at 10 Janpath?

Also read: CHURUMURI POLL: Good to lose Asiad bid?