A month left for the 35th edition of the National Games in Kerala, CPI (M)-led Opposition has alleged that the Congress government was trying to do a repeat of “Commonwealth games model” corruption.
Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Sports Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan were attempting to become Suresh Kalmadi, who had been the chairman of the Commonwealth Games 2010.
Achuthanandan said the decision to give Rs 10.6 crore for an event management firm under leading newspaper Malayala Manorama indicated the gravity of the corruption in the conduct of the national games. The event management firm has been given the contract for the conduct of the mass run, billed Run Kerala Run, on January 20 as a campaign for the National Games.
“People of Kerala would voluntarily make the mass run a great success considering that national games goodwill ambassador Sachin Tendulkar would participate in the run. It was unwarranted to entrust the conduct of the mass run to an event management company under a particular newspaper. It is mysterious why the government wants to support a private firm under the guise of the mass run,” said Achuthanandan.
Opposition deputy leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan also joined the issue, saying that nepotism and corruption were rampant in the conduct of the National Games. He said the Opposition would rethink about its support for the National Games.
Reacting to the allegation, Sports Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said ‘K Junction’ the event management firm under Malayala Manorama was entrusted with the conduct of the mass run through open tender process. “We have stuck to regulations in the conduct of the national games. Only two firms including K Junction, had qualified for the bid. As K Junction was the lowest bidder, the contract was entrusted to that firm,” said Radhakrishnan.
The National Games would begin in Kerala on January 31. Unlike the previous editions in which a single city hosted the event, the 35th National Games would be held in seven districts in Kerala.