IPL remarks unwarranted: Chidambaram

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/c/chidambaram08.jpg' class='caption'> Home Minister P Chidambaram on Monday said the staging of IPL in India was absolutely safe but full security could be provided only after May 16.

Updated: March 23, 2009 09:22 IST
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Chidambaram hits back at BCCI, BJP

New Delhi, Mar 23 (PTI)

In a sharp reaction to the criticism of the Central government over the IPL issue, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Monday hit back at the BCCI and the BJP, saying that the cricket tournament was a "shrewd combination of sport and business" and there was no need to add politics to it.

A day after the BCCI announced that the second edition of the IPL was being shifted to a foreign country because of security issues in India, Chidambaram told a press conference that while he had no comment on that decision, he had read a number of statements which obliquely criticised the Central government. "These statements require an answer. Some unwarranted comments also deserve a rejoinder," he added.

Taking on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who had described the shifting of the IPL out of India as a "national shame", the Home Minister said that most people in India thought that the Gujarat communal riots of 2002 were a national shame.

To another BJP leader Arjun Jaitley's comments that the decision will send a negative message to the world and that the Congress-ruled states have been non-cooperative towards holding of IPL in India, Chidambaram said, "I know that Mr Jaitley has a penchant for exaggeration, but because he also wears the cap of the president of the DDCA he seems to have gone overboard this time."

"If Shree Manohar was referring to the state government alone I would like to remind them ..the state governments are ultimately responsible for maintaining the law and order and providing security and one has to respect the judgment made by the state governments in this behalf," Chidambaram said.

With IPL involving huge money, Chidambaram said, "It appears that IPL is more than a game. It is shrewed combination of sport and business. There is no reason to add politics to this combination," he said.

Chidambaram maintained that India is safe for cricket and the only question was scheduling of the matches. "I have repeatedly said that cricket - or any other game-when played in India is completely safe and all players will be provided full security. The question is when should the IPL matches be played."

Chidambaram said the Home Ministry had asked the hosts states for their views on the revised schedule but only three states and one Union Territory - Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab and Chandigarh -- responded.

To a question if he would ask the BCCI to reconsider the decision of shifting IPL outside the country, Chidambaram said, "no suggestion."

He had the same answer when asked if he would suggest holding of the IPL matches after general elections. In a surprise decision yesterday, the BCCI which had an emergency working committee meeting, decided to shift the IPL to another country, most probably England or South Africa.

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