EARLY July, the Karnataka Government prepared a list of 24 MLAs and bureaucrats to visit Atlanta on a 20 day jaunt. The purpose: to study the conduct of the Olympics and borrow expertise to host the National Games in Bangalore and Mysore later this year.
Politicians and bureaucrats lobbied hard to hop on to the flight. The list grew, the final figure standing at 42, including four spouses. The total cost, at $200 per person per day, Rs 80 lakh. The tab was to be picked up by the National in Games Committee.
A series of exposes in The Indian Express , however, scuttled the plan. The Karnataka delegation hadn't made any hotel reservations, neither did they buy tickets for the various events. Exactly three tickets had been purchased—only for the Opening Ceremony.
The delegation had big travel plans. The 42 were to go on a sight-seeing tour of the US, with stops at Pittsburgh, Washington DC, Disneyland and San Diego. Also, on the cards was a three-day cruise in Mexico. On the way back, several members had scheduled stopovers in Europe.