Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Tuesday said he will be "unhappy" if the Commonwealth Games are a success, and only "evil" will patronise them, remarks which were quickly dismissed by both his party and the BJP.
"I am delighted in a way because rains are causing difficulties for the Commonwealth Games. Basically, I will be very unhappy, if the Games are successful because then they will start bringing Asian Games, Olympic Games and all these," the former Union sports minister told reporters outside Parliament House.
The Rajya Sabha MP lashed out at the massive expenditure being incurred for the October event.
"Those who are patronising the Games can only be evil. They cannot be God," said Aiyar, a known critic of the Games who has vent his ire often in the past.
He said instead of spending a whopping Rs 35,000 crore on the Games, the money should have been spent on children.
"Thousands of crores are being spent on circuses like these while the common children are being deprived of basic facilities to play," Aiyar said, adding all "expectations" from the Games had been belied.
The Congress was quick to dismiss Aiyar's comments.
"I do not take him seriously," Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit said.
The BJP, which has also raised questions about the preparations and the manner in which funds were being used, said irresponsible statements should not be made on the issue.
"The Central and state government should understand that prestige of the country is associated with the Commonwealth Games. Irresponsible statements should not be made on the issue," BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
Taking exception to Aiyar's remarks, Samajwadi Party said that those opposing the Games are doing so for "sadistic pleasure".