Jaitley blasts government over IPL shift

March 22nd, 2009 - 7:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, March 22 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Sunday criticised the Indian government for its failure to provide security to the Indian Premier League (IPL), forcing the organisers to move the tournamnet out of the country.
BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley told reporters here that the decision to shift the second edition of the hugely popular Twenty20 tournament would put India on par with countries like Pakistan that are deemed unsafe for international sporting events.

“The government must seriously reconsider … and adopt a more responsible stand in national interests,” said Jaitley, who is also president of the Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA). “India is safe, that must be the stand of the government.”

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Sunday met in Mumbai and decided to shift the IPL out of the country after Indian authorities said they would not be able to provide security as the tournament clashes with the April-May general elections.

Jaitley pointed out that even in the first edition of the IPL last year, the matches in Bangalore took place when Karanataka was holding elections to pick a new state assembly.

“If you could do it in one city, you could do it in eight (cities),” he said.

The BJP leader called the failure to ensure security to the tournament, which was originally set to take place between April 10 and May 24, as “a great admission of failure by the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government”.

“This is an issue beyond cricket,” he insisted. “Whether a few matches are held or not is a secondary issue.”

Jaitley also said that the IPL, which attracts the best of talent from the cricketing world, was the first global sporting brand India had set up.

“This is the first brand India had developed, and we must not dilute this brand in the second year itself.”

The decision to play IPL away from India would signal that the country was unsafe for sports — and even tourism.

“A domestic tournament has also to be shifted to foreign soil? It was always said of Pakistan that that country is unsafe. This non-cooperation of the central government is clubbing India (with Pakistan).”

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