New Delhi:Home Minister P Chidambaram says there could be "problems" during the Indian Premier League even if the organisers avoid a clash with polling days in a host city as election in a neighboring state may stretch the security set-up.
"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.
The Minister said 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," Chidambaram told in an interview to a news channel. He said 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 he would not spare any central para-military forces.
"The security for the IPL must be provided by the state governments," he 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," he said.