Mohali: Believe it or not the Delhi Chief Minister is not on the list of about 11,000 special guests for whom seats have been reserved for the India-Pakistan semi final clash at Mohali stadium on Wednesday.
It doesn't always pay to be a chief minister. Sheila Dikshit may have occupied front row seats at Commonwealth Games events last year, but she will have to miss out on live action at the India-Pakistan World Cup semi-final clash in Mohali. Reason: The Delhi Chief Minister has failed to lay her hands on a ticket to the game.
When asked whether she would go to witness the mega event in Mohali Sheila said: "I couldn't get a ticket for myself. If I could have managed a ticket, then definitely I would have gone there." Her cabinet colleagues Haroon Yusuf and Arvinder Singh Lovely have fared better. "I had bought the ticket a long time back. India has played a great game so far. Like every other Indian I am also enthused about the match. It would definitely be a great contest," said Haroon Yusuf, Delhi's Power Minister.
The Punjab Cricket Association stadium can accommodate a total of 28,000 spectators of which 17,000 tickets had been made available to the public. These tickets reportedly were sold out by Saturday and the remaining available quota of 11,000 tickets was given to different boards, agencies and administrative bodies. According to reports, the International Cricket Council was given the largest share of 7000 tickets followed by 2200 for local administration and another 1000 given to Foreign Boards. 800 tickets have also been provided to various cricket associations. Hundreds of eager fans have been thronging the PCA ground in the past few days, in a desperate bid to find a ticket.
Interestingly, Sheila's daughter Latika Syed and son-in-law Imran Mohammad Syed will watch the game live at the stadium. Delhi MLAs also got a major relief and would be able to watch the match now. The Vidhansabha proceedings in Delhi take place in the afternoon and had the session not been concluded prematurely, MLAs would not have been able to watch the epic encounter. Originally the session would have continued till March 31.
Delhi assembly speaker, Yoganand Shastri, said, "It has nothing to do with world cup matches. Opposition party members were creating problems every day. The business was almost done. So I decided to conclude the session sine die."
Five youths have been arrested in Mohali for selling tickets in black. The police arrested the accused near the IT-Park roundabout, Manimajra, on Sunday and also recovered cash from them. The accused were later identified as Jasmeet Singh, a student of SD College, Sector 32, Rohit Kumar of Burail and Hemant Kumar of Sector 47. According to the police, a trap was laid to nab the accused following reports that tickets were being sold in black for the semi-final match featuring India and Pakistan. The police had earlier arrested a resident of Sector 46 for selling tickets in black. Another youth, Aslam, was arrested separately and the police recovered a Rs 500 ticket, which was being sold in Rs 25,000. Yogesh Sharma, a resident of Sector 22 has also been taken into custody for selling a ticket worth Rs 250 for Rs 25,000.
Sonia Gandhi along with Rahul, Priyanka, her husband Robert Vadra and their two kids are likely to visit Mohali to watch the much awaited semi final match between arch rivals India and Pakistan. The likely presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani has lent event greater importance to the event.
Over 3,000 policemen have been lined up, 100 CCTV cameras installed, quick reaction teams, bomb disposal squads and commando forces are on alert -- intense security defines the state of affairs in Chandigarh and Mohali, where the electrifying semi-final clash between arch rivals India and Pakistan is scheduled. The Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) stadium virtually bears a fortress-like look with hundreds of security personnel deployed both inside and outside the stadium. Traffic restrictions have also been imposed near the stadium.
Police forces have been requisitioned from various districts of Punjab and over 2,000 policemen will be securing the ultra-modern PCA stadium which has a capacity of 28,000. Since all the tickets have been sold out, the PCA officials are expecting jam-packed stands on the match day, March 30.
Protestors demanding government jobs were latchicharged outside the Mohali stadium on Monday. Ticket seekers for the World Cup semi-final match on Wednesday were also chased out by the police from outside the stadium. The area outside the stadium is out of bounds for the general public due to the tight security in place ahead of the match. The cops could be seen patrolling the area on horseback.