Himachal Pradesh minister G S Bali on Tuesday denied charges by BJP MP Anurag Thakur that the state was against hosting IPL matches of Kings XI Punjab here.
"The organizers (KingsXI Punjab) in fact have never shown the desire to organize such matches in Dharamshala this year, and when Himachal government is unaware of it how can BJP blame the state government for denying the IPL," he said.
The state Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Minister noted that Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) chief Anurag Thakur was giving political colour to the entire episode.
If BCCI, HPCA or Kings XI still wish to stage few Indian Premier League (IPL) matches in Dharamsala, the state government will help the organizers as they have done in past too, Bali said.
As per the schedule of this year's IPL matches, Dharamsala does not figure as Kings XI centre, he said.
HPCA spokesperson Sanjay Sharma, however said that the ongoing tussle between the cricket body and the state has forced cricket franchisees to not take the risk of hosting matches here.
"HPCA president Anurag Thakur is still trying for IPL matches in Dharamsala," he said.
He further said that the state's attitude of charging security dues and entertainment tax from the teams hosting matches here is also keeping the team owners away from the city.
Another HPCA official on the condition of anonymity said that Kings XI has kept two matches i.e on May 13 and 16 against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) respectively at Dharamsala which are at the moment being shown to be held at Mohali.
"The shifting of these matches shall be announced later," he said. This will be the second consecutive year for the city without hosting any IPL match.
Last year, the state government did not give permission for the premier league matches due to the Lok Sabha elections.
The Dharamsala stadium had been the home ground of the Punjab Kings XI, which organized matches from 2010 to 2013.