Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray on Wednesday demanded that the Indian Premier League (IPL) be banned to save cricket. In a front-page comment in the party mouthpiece Saamna, he said the game was the casualty in the war between IPL commissioner Lalit Modi and Shashi Tharoor, who has since resigned as Minister of State for External Affairs.
All this fighting was for money, Mr. Thackeray said. “Why go on about Modi, Modi? Investigate all the cricketers.”
He regretted that Mumbai Indians, which had been winning matches till recently, now lost suddenly. This was because key players were missing from the team in Monday's match against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens.
Mr. Thackeray said there was a sneaking doubt now that matches were fixed. He called for an investigation into the money raised by industrialists and people like actor Shah Rukh Khan to buy teams. “Where do they get so much money from?”
While proclaiming himself a crazy cricket fan, Mr. Thackeray said that in the IPL nefarious deals overshadowed and tainted the game. The government should stop the matches and save cricket. .
Mr. Thackeray's son and Sena executive president Uddhav, however, ignored the IPL issue altogether at a press conference. He said the Maharashtra golden jubilee celebrations were important to him and he would not speak about anything else. He reiterated his father's statement in Saamna and said he had nothing to add.
But, talking to some television channels later, Mr. Uddhav Thackeray said Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar should focus more on farmers than the IPL. He said more dirt would surface from the IPL muddle, and Mr. Modi and Mr. Tharoor were only small fry.