The Commonwealth Games were a resounding success for India, but the allegations of corruption that preceded the event must be thoroughly investigated. That’s the message coming out loud and clear from metropolitan India.
An opinion poll in India’s four biggest metros – Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai – exclusively for TOI has found 85% of those surveyed felt the Games were a hit. The same proportion said they have enhanced India’s reputation globally.
This is a sea change from a poll we had conducted in September, where close to 50% had said India’s reputation had taken a beating due to the stories of sleaze emerging almost daily.
That the change is thanks mainly to the athletes, and not the organizers, is clear from the fact that 86% of respondents to the latest poll say that allegations of corruption must be investigated. In other words, the bungling has neither been forgotten nor forgiven.
88% feel India has arrived as a sporting nation
The rich medal haul and India’s finishing second to Australia in the tally of gold medals has clearly captured the imagination of many. As a result, 88% expressed the view that India had arrived as a sporting nation — an estimate that sport buffs might not yet share.
The success of the Games also seems to have whetted the appetite for more such mega sporting events. When asked whether India should now put in a bid for the Olympic Games in 2020, 82% said it should.
A final question was put exclusively to respondents in Delhi and pertained to what they considered the biggest failure of the organizers. The most common response — voiced by 33% of those polled — was poor infrastructure.
The authorities might point to the kudos received from several foreign delegations on this count, but negative perception at home appears to have been driven by events like the collapse of the foot overbridge near the main venue and the state of the Village when it was first handed over to some of the delegations.
The second most common response, from 30% of the respondents, was traffic chaos due to excessive security. Lack of tickets, poor facilities and a poorly run website also figured on the list of complaints, but lower on the scale. The survey was conducted by Synovate, a global market research agency, polled a total of 375 adults between the ages of 18 and 40 years, 150 of them in the host city, Delhi.