Discussion on whether India's potential bid for the 2019 Asian Games will go ahead must be made soon, an official has warned following the General Election victory of Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Narendra Modi.
India was not initially considered a candidate to step in after Hanoi withdrew from hosting the Games last month, due to economic pressures, with Indonesia seen as the favoured replacements.
But a "strong desire" was then expressed by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), pending the approval of the new Government, formed by Modi's Hindu Nationalist Party following the most decisive election result in three decades yesterday.
Modi is due to be sworn in as Prime Minister on Wednesday (May 21).
The Olympic Council of Asia have set a deadline of July 1 for bids to be expressed, meaning Indian officials face a tight deadline.
"First the IOA has to make an iron cast case to the new Government for bidding," an unnamed official told IANS.
"The Sports Ministry has to prepare a cabinet note studying the pros and cons.
With Modi having risen to a power with the promise of addressing fiscal discipline and introducing economic reforms, it remains possible he may oppose a bid, particularly considering the corruption problems India faced as a result of staging the Commonwealth Games in 2010.
The IOA have since served a 14-month suspension from the International Olympic Committee following the election of officials linked to the scandal to top posts within the organisation.
The suspension was only lifted during the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi earlier this year following successful elections in which Narayana Ramachandran, also head of the World Squash Federation, was appointed the new President.
The IOA are seeking to hold the Asian Games in New Delhi, which, if successful, would mark the third time they have been held there following editions in 1951 and 1982.
But the campaign has also been supported elsewhere in India, including by the Sport Authority of India secretary general Jiji Thomson, who insisted the country has the infrastructure to support a bid.
"Whenever this bid for the 2019 Asian Games comes up, we will support it," he told PTI.
"Why should we shy away from hosting these big Games only because there was corruption scandals in the 2010 Commonwealth Games?
"I am not denying that there was corruption but we should not remain stuck because of that and not host other big Games."
Thomson also spoke optimistically about the prospects of India bidding for an Olympic Games at some point in the future, because "India is the only big country, an important one, which has not hosted an Olympic Games.
"Had it not been the corruption scandal in the 2010 Commonwealth Games, I feel India would have bid for 2020 or 2024 Olympic Games,."
Whatever the ultimate decision of the Indian authorities, Indonesia remain the favourites, with Olympic Council of Asia honorary vice-president Wei Jizhong admitting the South East Asian nation were the "frontrunners" following a visit earlier this month.
Various other bids, including from Qatar, United Arab Emirates, China, Japan and a combined attempt from Malaysia and Singapore have all been rumoured, although none have been confirmed.
A final decision on the host country is due to be made on September 20 during the next edition of the Asian Games in Incheon.
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