Amid intense criticism over Commonwealth Games preparations, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held a meeting with union ministers and others involved in the sporting event but kept away Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi, triggering speculation about his being sidelined.
The PM asked Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrashekhar to meet Commonwealth Games Federation chief Michael Fennell on Friday.
During the 90-minute meeting, Singh enquired about various aspects of the preparations from Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy, Sports Minister M S Gill, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Tejendra Khanna and Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.
"The Prime Minister was briefed about the state of preparedness of the Commonwealth Games. He was informed that every effort is being made to prepare he games facilities and the village to the expected standards," Khanna said.
"Our guests will be received and welcomed in accordance with the best traditions of Indian hospitality," the Lt Governor said after the meeting, which was also attened by Chandrashekhar, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and Home Secretary G K Pillai.
Significantly, Kalmadi was not invited to the meeting, triggering questions as whether he was being sidelined in the wake of all-round attack over the lack of preparedness.
Apart from accusations of inefficiency, the Organising Committee and the government have also been left embarrassed by the collapse of a foot over-bridge near the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium, which is the main venue for the mega-event.
The meeting came two days after international delegates lambasted the Games Village as "filthy and uninhabitable" and top teams such as Canada, Scotland and New Zealand delayed their departure to the Indian capital.
Fennell will visit the Games Village on Friday to see the readiness of the place that will house the international sportspersons.
Singh, however, will not meet him as had been speculated. Instead, the Prime Minister asked the Cabinet Secretary to meet Fennell.
The first multi-sport international event being held in India since the 1982 Asian Games threatens to become a national embarrassment with several top athletes already pulling out and some more adopting a wait-and-watch policy before taking a final call.