As Kalmadi to ‘focus on Pune’, parties urge him to stay away from politics for now

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City MP Suresh Kalmadi's recent decision not to seek re-election as Indian Olympic Association president and the possibility of his retiring from sports administration has found an echo in Pune, his constituency, where, incidentally, he has decided to focus on. Advising him to take "political sanyas" till he is cleared of the charges, parties across the political spectrum have questioned his "moral authority" to seek re-election at a time when he is facing charges of being involved in the Rs 70,000-crore Commonwealth Games (CWG) scam.

"I have served Indian sports for the past four terms as president of the IOA to the best of my abilities and have now decided to make way for a new generation of sports leaders. I would now like to focus on my constituency — Pune — and on my family," Kalmadi had said in New Delhi recently while making clear his decision not to seek re-election as IOA president and concentrate on Pune constituency where he was elected in the previous election and where the Parliamentary elections are less than two years away.

While welcoming Kalmadi's decision, political parties want him to take a similar decision on the political front too.

"Kalmadi should replicate his decision on Pune's political terrain as well. This will save the historical city from major embarrassment. If a scam-tainted person contests from here, what would Pune gain, fame or notoriety?" ask political leaders.

Whether it is the NCP, BJP or the Shiv Sena, parties have raised the pitch against Kalmadi, asking him to first get his sullied reputation restored and then think of contesting the election from Pune which, they reminded him, was the educational and cultural hub of the state. Hs own detractors in the Congress, too, want him to stay away from active politics till a court clears him.

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