Election Commission officials said on Wednesday it would be difficult to hold an IPL match at the Eden Gardens on May 14 if there was a repoll but the cricket authorities are banking on the government to bail them out.
“Calcutta will go to the polls on May 12. We cannot predict whether there will be a repoll or not. If there is a repoll, it will be difficult to conduct the match that day,” said district election officer, Calcutta (north), Durgadas Goswami. The stadium is part of the area under Goswami’s charge.
According to election rules, repoll is held within 48 hours of the date of the voting.
“What the police are saying is reasonable. The police officers who will be engaged in poll duty from a day before the voting date will have to be spared on May 13. How can they do match duty on May 14 if they do not get to attend the match briefing on May 13?” Goswami wondered.
Calcutta police had written to the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) on Tuesday night, saying they would not be able to provide security to the May 14 IPL tie between Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians at Eden because of the election.
The CAB has written to chief secretary Sanjay Mitra, seeking “intervention from the highest level”. The cricket body mentioned in the letter that it would not be possible to shift the match now.
“We have explained the situation to the chief secretary. The polls dates were announced long ago and the police were aware of them. Why did they not object earlier? We have sought intervention from the highest level,” CAB treasurer Biswarup Dey said.
Sources at the CAB said they are hoping chief minister Mamata Banerjee would intervene and bail them out. “She would understand that cancellation of the match at this stage would mean a loss of face for the state. She has always been supportive of the IPL,” said a CAB official.
Poll panel officials, however, pointed out that the government could not interfere with their decisions. “It’s within our right to cancel the match,” said a panel official.