The game of politics has never remained a constant theory to make accurate calculations and assumptions. In India, it seems to be even more complex. In a move which looks like a step of her campaign against the Sri Lankan government after the emergence of probable new evidence of war crimes, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa took the decision that her State would not host the 20th Asian Athletics Championships this year. In a statement, she said that the participation of Sri Lankan athletes would hurt the feelings of the Tamils. Ms. Jayalalithaa also said that her government wrote to the AAA, seeking the exclusion of the Sri Lankan contingent from the event. This was in view of the Sri Lankan government acting repeatedly against Tamils.
Such game of politics is not new in our country and the Central government should have kept in mind the regional aspirations of the State government before asking them to host the event. Similarly, the State government should also think about the international image of the country especially when we talk about India emerging as an Asian Giant. While it is always credible to have a stand on serious issues, at times we must have the sportsman spirit as well. Interestingly the event was not only rejected by Tamil Nadu but also by Jharkhand and Delhi for reasons better known to them.
Amidst months of uncertainty and indecisiveness, the Asian Athletics Championships was finally decided to be held in Pune’s Balewadi Stadium from July 3rd to 7th. Citing the difficulties the AFI faced all along, its secretary-general C.K. Valson said, “Of course, it would have been terribly shameful for the whole country had we been forced to back out of our commitment. But thankfully, all our worries are almost over as we have now that the Maharashtra Chief Minister has cleared our proposal to have the championship in Pune.”
The AFI, compared to the comfortable budget of over Rs. 40 crore allotted by the Tamil Nadu Government, would be working with a scaled-down allotment of around Rs. 12.75 crore to be made by the Maharashtra Government for conducting the meet in Pune. Later on the Maharashtra Government has also provided another Rs. 4 crore for sprucing up the stadium in Balewadi. There is no doubt that Maharashtra is the financial capital of the country and this time it acted as a very strong face-saver. The Congress-NCP led government under the leadership of Prithviraj Chavan once again proved that they are the ultimate master of all games.