With Cauvery river water sharing row with Karnataka hotting up, political parties on Friday plunged into the fray bringing into the line of fire the hugely-popular Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket matches to be played in Chepauk grounds here from April 10.
While the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) leader T.T.V. Dhinakaran appealed to cricket fans in the state to ignore the matches, DMK leader M.K. Stalin said organisers of the IPL matches should understand the people's problems and act.
Queried on the issue, Stalin said the DMK was not against holding the IPL matches here. However he requested the match organisers to understand the problems faced by the people and act accordingly.
On March 10, Chennai Super Kings will play against Kolkata Knight Riders at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium.
However, Dhinakaran tweeted that at a time when Tamil Nadu's rights over Cauvery waters, the lifeline of the state, were being "betrayed" by the state and Central governments and the state had risen in revolt, "I appeal to the cricket fans of Tamil Nadu to ignore these matches".
On April 4, Manithaneya Jananayaga Katchi chief and sitting MLA M Thamimun Ansari asked if IPL matches were needed when "farmers are shedding tears and people are yearning for drinking water."
Asking the Tamil Nadu government to deny the nod for the matches, he had said if the matches were held,his party cadres and "Cauvery Rights Retrieval Committee," volunteers would storm the stadium and stop the game.
Pro-Tamil outfit Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi chief T Velmurugan also had appealed to the organisers of IPL matches to not hold them in Chennai.
If it was done, his party and friendly Tamil outfits would stage a "democratic demonstration" inside the stadium by buying tickets, he had said.
"We are not against cricket, the Board of Control for Cricket in India, or cricket fans," the TVK chief, whose party cadres recently vandalised a toll plaza in an agitation at Villupuram district on the Cauvery issue had said.
Some fringe groups like the Tamil Nadu Human Rights Party have also voiced their opposition to the holding of IPL matches. They have said they would democratically protest against the matches when the state is fighting for its rights over setting up the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) as per the apex court's order of February 16.
Protest marches across the state
Meanwhile, Stalin said that as decided earlier at the all-party meeting, the Cauvery Rights Retrieval March would be held in two phases.
The first phase march would start from Mukkombu in Tiruchirappalli district on April 7 and the second phase on April 9 from Ariyallur district so that the march was spread across the whole of Cauvery Delta region, Stalin said.
On April 7, the protest will be held in Dharmapuri district and on April 10 at Salem.
Agitations led by him will also be held at other locations, including Erode (April 12), Namakkal (April 16), Karur (April 18), Tiruchirappalli (April 21), Thanjavur (April 23), Tiruvarur (April 25), and Nagappattinam (April 27).
Tamil Nadu govt assures security for the event
As opposition to IPL matches to be held here grew over the Cauvery issue with AMMK leader Dhinakaran appealing to cricket fans to shun it, the Tamil Nadu government today assured security for the event.
Ruling AIADMK's rival and Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam leader Dhinakaran appealed to cricket lovers to shun IPL matches scheduled to be held here to 'strengthen the voice of farmers' seeking setting up of Cauvery Management Board.
His appeal comes days after pro-Tamil outfits opposed holding IPL matches,saying it was not needed when farmers were struggling holding protests for the Cauvery Management Board.
Tamil Nadu Fisheries Minister and senior AIADMK leader D Jayakumar said "if they (IPL organisers) write to us seeking security, we cannot say that we will not provide security."
Seven IPL matches are scheduled to be held here between April 10 and May 20.
He said the IPL matches were to be held at a time when people are holding protests every day to partake in the grief of farmers.
The entire state has risen against the alleged "injustice perpetrated on us by the State and Central governments on the Cauvery (issue), the lifeline of Tamil Nadu," he said in his twitter handle.