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Pawar slams Cong over IPL

The Nationalist Congress Party Chief Sharad Pawar has lashed out at the Centre over its refusal to provide security to the Indian Premier League’s T-20 cricket matches that were to be held this month.

india Updated: Apr 08, 2009 00:22 IST
Shailesh Gaikwad

The Nationalist Congress Party Chief Sharad Pawar has lashed out at the Centre over its refusal to provide security to the Indian Premier League’s T-20 cricket matches that were to be held this month.

“I understand that the Centre was not in a position to provide the security. But I do feel that in a country like India, if we are not going to perform our normal duties because of threat from outside India, it is not correct,” Pawar said in an interview to Hindustan Times while campaigning at Kolhapur in western Maharashtra.

Following the refusal of the Centre and Congress ruled states to provide any security to the matches, the IPL authorities decided to shift the tournament to South Africa. The Congress as well as Union home minister P. Chidambaram had publicly objected to holding IPL matches in India since they were clashing with the election schedule. The controversy had created bitterness between the allies, Congress and NCP. However, Pawar chose not to speak much on the issue. Now, about a week before the IPL tournament to begin in South Africa, Pawar opened his mind.

We can’t be cowed down by the terror threats, he insisted.

“During the Second World War when London city was bombed, Churc-hill ensured that the business went on as usual; schools and offices remained open,”said Pawar.

He further cited example of former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. “During last year’s IPL matches, there were bomb blasts in Jaipur. When she called me to ask whether to cancel the matches, I said nothing doing, matches have to be held,” he said. “She took correct steps and provided security.”

The NCP chief also expressed his unhappiness over the way the Congress reacted when he was planning to go to Orissa to address a rally with Third Front constituents a week ago. He would be campaigning in Orissa on Wednesday, he pointed out.