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IPL not keen to toe Home Minister’s line

cricket Updated: Mar 03, 2009 23:32 IST
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The country’s home minister might want the Indian Premier League (IPL) to be postponed till after the Lok Sabha elections because of security reasons, but the league’s CEO, Sunder Raman, doesn’t quite second the idea.

“Why should everything else in the country come to a standstill because of politics? We understand that security is of paramount importance, but postponement is not an option,” said Raman.

In an interview to a television channel, P Chidambaram had stated that he “didn’t want forces to be stretched and hosting the IPL after the general elections would be a better proposition.”

The IPL had released a statement in response to Chidambaram’s statement, saying, “The Indian Premier League is working on the schedule to ensure that there is no clash of matches with the election dates. The IPL is fully cognizant of the importance of general elections in a country… we will go a step further to ensure that there will be no games 24 to 48 hours prior to the polling dates across all the nine match venues in the country.”

But Raman said things had to be seen in perspective. “Look at it this way, if elections are happening in, say, Vizag, why should Jaipur and Delhi stop playing? We have already assured authorities that we will work with them to ensure there are no games on election days.”

The home ministry, though, thinks otherwise. A ministry official told HT that Chidambaram’s reservations were justified owing to the shortage of paramilitary personnel. The ministry had recently refused to release more than 750-odd companies (nearly 97,000 personnel) for election duty, prompting the Election Commission to opt for a five-phase election rather than wrapping it up in four. “And even that would mean pulling personnel out of their operational duties specifically for the elections,” said the official.

There is good reason for the League’s authorities to veto a proposed postponement as it could effectively mean a cancellation of the tournament. With the cricket calendar already choc-a-bloc, another window for the IPL will be extremely difficult to find.