IPL should be held after polls: Maharashtra police

Maharashtra police on Friday expressed reservations about holding the second edition of the IPL alongside the general elections.

updated: March 20, 2009 14:25 IST
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New Delhi/Mumbai:

With barely 20 days to go, the troubled Indian Premier League was on Friday dealt a severe jolt with Maharashtra police calling for its postponement, saying providing security for both IPL matches and the elections will put extra strain on the forces.

Maharashtra's DG (Elections) Suprabhat Chakravarty said that his forces would be busy with election duty and suggested that the league be put off till after the elections.

"There is no point in putting extra strain on policemen. They are already busy due to elections. Even if there is no election at the venue where the IPL is being held, those people would be very busy with bandobast duty. It is a very strenuous duty," he said.

"So, where is the need to put extra strain. I mean, it can always be held after April 30 when the Maharashtra polling is over. Election period will be still on but will be a little better off. Give it a couple of days' gap and then hold it. That is my personal view," he added.

The Maharashtra DG's statement came as a surprise for IPL organisers, who had allotted as many as 18 matches to the state, including 14 in Mumbai alone.

It was not immediately clear whether Chakravarty made his observation in personal capacity or as the state's security representative.

While IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi declined to comment on the latest development, tournament director Neeraj Malhotra said the Twenty20 league may shift a few matches out of Maharashtra.

"We are working around it. We have been told that we can't hold all the 18 matches there. We are trying to work it out. The revised schedule should be out by this weekend.

"It is difficult but we have to work around it. The problem is we can't postpone it till after the elections because the Twenty20 World Cup is scheduled in June. So, there are no dates, " he explained.

Maharashtra's security concerns is the latest in a series of problems for the multi-million dollar league, which has revised its schedule as many as three times to get the Home Ministry's clearance.

Home Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday made it clear that elections were "unquestionably" the first priority. He said he would like the IPL organisers to take a final call on whether to hold the event at all while the nation votes.

Rocked by one controversy after another, IPL yesterday faced allegations of deliberately dropping Jaipur from its list of venues.

The Rajasthan Government lambasted Lalit Modi for omitting Jaipur in the revised schedule mainly because he lost the Rajasthan Cricket Association elections.

But the IPL said the allegations were "unfair", saying the changes were necessitated because of certain constraints over security.

The IPL organisers dropped Jaipur along with Delhi and Visakhapatnam as a venue in the revised schedule submitted to the Home Ministry which is yet to give the green signal to the high-profile event.

Desperate to get the cash-rich league on track, the IPL's top brass has held a series of meetings since Monday and submitted the reworked schedule to the Home Ministry. The new schedule was prepared taking into account the reservations and security constraints of the states hosting the matches.