Avoiding polling dates is not enough for IPL: Chidambaram

Avoiding polling dates is not enough for IPL: Chidambaram
PTI
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First Published: Sat, Mar 21 2009. 02 50 PM IST
Updated: Sat, Mar 21 2009. 02 50 PM IST
New Delhi: The Indian Premier League (IPL) has avoided matches on poll days in its revised schedule but it may not be enough to get them the security clearance with home minister P. Chidambaram saying there could still be ‘problems’ during the event.
Chidambaram said that the IPL organisers will also have to take into account the election dates of not only the states where matches are bing held but also the neighbouring ones.
“It is not security only in that state. You see, if election is taking place in a neighboring state or just across the state border. If we have an IPL match in the state, there could be problems,” Chidambaram said.
Chidambaram said that it could take a few days to end the uncertainty over holding of the IPL matches as he was still awaiting the states’ response to the league’s schedule, which has been revised for the third time.
“It depends upon when states respond. It could take a few days,” the minister said in an interview to a news channel.
He said that the organisers were in touch with his office.
“What is presented to me is the result of discussions. The last time it was brought to my notice we issued a statement saying this schedule is not acceptable and they have to go back to the drawing board. They have come back with another schedule but the states have not come back with their response,” he pointed out.
Maintaining that elections were ‘unquestionably’ the first priority, the Minister said that he would not spare any central para-military forces.
On whether the IPL should be simply called off if the dates failed to work out, Chidambaram said: “I think the organisers are responsible people. I think they are patriotic Indians. I think they will take a call.”
“The security for the IPL must be provided by the state governments,” Chidambaram said, reiterating that his obligation was to provide intelligence.
“I have made it clear that I cannot exempt any state government from giving to the Election Commission forces which they promised,” he said.
On whether the IPL should be simply called off if the dates failed to work out, Chidambaram said: “I think the organisers are responsible people. I think they are patriotic Indians. I think they will take a call.”
Chidambaram maintained that India remained a safe place to conduct sporting events but security can not be guaranteed for the period of elections.
“Every cricket player will be safe, every cricket match will be conducted safely. The point is because the two scheduled (elections and IPL) virtually overlap, it is difficult to give that assurance only for this time period of about 45 days.
“Before and after, there is no doubt in my mind that the state and central governments can provide foolproof security to cricket matches or football matches or anything else,” Chidambaram said.
While Maharashtra and Karnataka are understood to have given their clearance, Andhra Pradesh has also given its nod barring one match.
The home ministry has sent on Tuesday the revised schedule to the eight states which are hosting the tournament beginning 10 April.
The new schedule was prepared taking into account the reservations and security constraints of the states hosting the matches and a decision on the fate of the second edition of the IPL will be taken soon after the home ministry received feedback from the concerned state governments.
The schedule was revised for third time after the home ministry told the organisers that cosmetic changes in the fixture was not acceptable and they would have to finalise the dates in consultation with the state governments.
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First Published: Sat, Mar 21 2009. 02 50 PM IST