The Centre is expected to take a final call on Friday to determine whether it is possible to provide simultaneous security to the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches and the general elections.
Home minister P Chidambaram is likely to chair a meeting of ministry officials to review the various states’ level of preparedness to hold the matches and the extent to which they will be dependent on the central forces to ensure a safe IPL. “We have received responses from the states, and these are now being processed,” a MHA official said.
Giving the final go-ahead will, however, be a tricky decision for Chidambaram to take for a number of reasons.
Firstly, there are fears that an attack on the IPL will amount to a failure on the government’s part on providing internal security. But then again, cancelling the IPL on security grounds will expose the government to the same charge… that it was not able to provide security to cricket matches.
Meanwhile, reports on Thursday said that the Andhra Pradesh government had asked matches scheduled in the state to be postponed till polling was over. IPL officials, however, did not view that as an obstacle.
“We have said before we will work the schedule around as the government wants us to,” tournament director Dhiraj Malhotra told Hindustan Times.
Asked whether they were ready to keep matches away from Vizag and Hyderabad till the elections were over, Malhotra said: “If we have to, we will. I know it is not the ideal situation, but we are committed to co-operating with the government and will work around this too.”
Sources in the IPL told HT that the organisers have worked out “a number of alternate schedules which they have sent the government”.
“Security is the biggest point now. We have a number of different schedules and will finalise the one that gets the govt’s clearance,” a source said.
Most states have said they will not be able to provide security on their own and will need assistance from central paramilitary forces.