The sixth edition of the IPL started from the 2nd of April, 2013, but political problems have been brewing (centering it) for the past month. The Shiv Sena has demanded that the owners of the IPL cricket teams have to donate a staggering amount of 500 crore for the drought relief fund of Maharashtra.
Shiv Sena, the nationalist party founded by Bal Thackeray, is infamous for its outrageous and often unreasonable demands from the government, educational organizations and business owners. According to Uddhav Thackeray, who is the leader of the Shiv Sena, the huge amount of profit generated by the IPL matches should be used for the charitable cause of helping the drought affected areas of Maharashtra.
The IPL has gone through a lot of controversies in the past 5-6 years. There have been scandals and it has been asked whether it is a collective business venture of sponsors and owners or a sport. The frenzy surrounding cricket has been well exploited by the IPL organizers. They have reaped huge amount of profit in the last 5 years. This year the IPL organizers started promoting the tournament quite early. They got Farah Khan to popularize the already famous tournament. There are total 9 teams and each of them is owned by business tycoons and film stars like Mukesh Ambani and Sharukh Khan. The hype and frenzy surrounding this game has not gone down well with the Shiv Sena.
The spokesperson for the Shiv Sena, Mr. Sanjay Raut, has said that it is expected from the IPL team owners that they will show concern for the social causes of Maharashtra. The Shiv Sena wants the IPL organizers and sponsors to spontaneously contribute for the drought relief fund of the state. It is true that the Northern and Western regions of Maharashtra, especially Marathwada, has been badly affected by drought and the Maharashtra government needs lots of funds to supply water to these areas. The cattle are dying from lack of fodder and people are greatly suffering due to acute lack of water.
Shiv Sena has also asked the Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to talk with the IPL team owners and get them to fund this charitable cause. They have acknowledged that IPL is not a charitable venture. Primarily it is a business and form of entertainment but they have asked the team leaders to come forward for helping the Marathi people who are suffering badly.
Eight of the IPL matches are supposed to be played in Maharashtra but the Shiv Sena has threatened that they won’t allow IPL to be played in Mumbai. MNS chief Raj Thackeray has also opined that IPL should not be played at Maharashtra during a time of crisis like this. When asked by the media if they were against the IPL, the spokesperson for Shiv Sena told that they were not against IPL but they did not want focus shifted from the drought crisis and if the government did not take proper action then Shiv Sena will see to it that IPL is not played at Mumbai this year.