The controversy over the Indian Premier League (IPL) is likely to worsen the already strained ties between the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the ruling alliance in Maharashtra.
The NCP leaders are convinced that a section of the Congress leaders wanted to stall IPL to corner their boss, Sharad Pawar who controls the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). They allege that Chief Minister Ashok Chavan made it a point to convey the state government’s refusal to the IPL just a day before the BCCI meet in Mumbai.
“Chavan over-ruled home minister Jayant Patil who had earlier taken a public stand that the IPL would be held in Maharashtra,”said a top NCP functionary.
Chavan’s action left the NCP red-faced as Patil (who hails from Pawar’s party) was all along maintaining that the state government would offer protection to the IPL. The BCCI had even shifted the inaugural venue to Mumbai from Jaipur.
Even after Director General of Police Suprakash Chakravarty, who is handling police department for the elections, sent a negative report, Patil insisted that he had already given a go-ahead to the IPL schedule.
The CM told HT: “I over-ruled the home minister because I didn’t want to take any chances with the security. We offered to provide security to the IPL matches after the polls.”
He, however, ruled out bitterness among the alliance partners. “This is not a political issue. It was about security.”State NCP chief R.R. Patil refused to comment, while Jayant Patil was not available.
The controversy has come at a time when the two parties are bitter over seat-sharing for coming parliamentary elections. It has been already a week since the two parties agreed on a 26-22 seat sharing formula but the Congress leaders have not yet formalised the same.