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India calls for IPL cricket delay

Rajasthan IPL team members
The tournament is extremely popular in India (Photos: Indian Express)

India's home minister has said he wants the Indian Premier League cricket tournament to be postponed because it clashes with general elections.

P Chidambaram said that he wished to avoid a clash with the vote because of fears over the security burden.

The tournament is scheduled to be held from 10 April to 24 May at nine venues across India.

As home minister Mr Chidambaram is responsible for the security of the multi-million dollar tournament.

'Stretched'

"I have asked the home secretary to get in touch with the IPL organisers," Mr Chidambaram told the CNN-IBN news channel.

"Since, the election dates are unalterable, I have asked to find out if the dates of the Indian Premier League (IPL) can be rescheduled. I would be happy if the tournament starts when the bulk of the polls is over."

Chennai players in action
It's feared the cricket might stretch the security forces

However the minister stressed that adequate security for the tournament would be provided if the tournament went ahead on the pre-arranged dates.

"I'm not worried about my ability to provide security - I can. But since it coincides with the elections, I don't want to be stretched and I don't want my forces to be strained.

"So we will talk to them. A postponement would be ideal and I would prefer it," he said.

However the IPL responded by saying that it had already taken the timing of the elections into consideration and that it would ensure there would be no matches 24-48 hours before a match in an election zone.

"We are working around the dates of the elections," IPL tournament director Dhiraj Malhotra said.

"We will obviously work with the local police and the other authorities and then take a final decision.

"We will certainly see what the government has to say and we will obviously have to convince the government that the tournament has to go ahead," he said.

"We already have security people in place and they are among the best in the world."

A meeting between the government and the IPL organisers is expected to be held over the next few days.

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