New Delhi: With the fifth season of Indian Premier League kicking up a storm a day, murmurs against the cash-rich cricket league are slowly turning into a howl.
First the allegations of spot-fixing, then a scuffle involving Shah Rukh Khan and now the accusation of molestation levelled against Royal Challengers Bangalore player Luke Pomersbach, the IPL is increasingly facing flak over the way the tournament is conducted – naysayers call it a ‘party’ that has nothing to do with sports .
The public resentment over the way IPL is conducted found resonance in the voices of protest aired by Members of Parliament on Friday.
Former cricketer and BJP MP Kirti Azad has demanded that IPL be "closed" and announced that he would go on a fast against the sporting event from May 20 (Sunday).
"It (IPL) should be closed...I am sitting on a hunger fast at the Ferozeshah Kotla from (May) 20th. Some other cricketers and civil society members will also join me," Azad told reporters on Friday.
"...IPL I suppose is only entertainment... but we have money laundering, we have violation of foreign exchange, we have one player slapping another, there was a sting operation for spot fixing, now rape was left... that has also come in," Azad said.
"Somebody got drunk and went into the cricket ground where nobody is allowed to go after a match. This is a mix of intoxication and entertainment..." he added.
His party colleague Yashwant Sinha said, “It is not IPL, it is a rave party,” while also opining that it is ‘against Indian culture’.
“If semi-naked girls will continue to dance after every four is scored, then this is what will happen (molestation), this format of IPL should be scrapped immediately,” he added.
Sharad Yadav of the Janata Dal (United) said the government should take immediate notice of the matter.
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav has also come out in support of closing down the IPL.
"IPL should be closed," he told reporters outside Parliament House when asked to react on the spat between Shahrukh Khan and Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) officials and other controversies surrounding the game.
On the Shahrukh Khan episode, he alleged that the policemen, who were present when the scuffle broke out between the Bollywood star and MCA officials, were working at the behest of certain political parties.
"All this was done in hatred," Yadav alleged.
On the other hand, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury questioned the tax exemption to IPL needs to be probed. Yechury also demanded that "Tamasha should end; only sports should prevail.”
Meanwhile, Law Minister Salamn Khurshid had his own take on the IPL. Replying to a question, he said that the IPL is the product of this age and time; earlier it was test cricket, now it is IPL.
However, his party colleague Satyavrat Chaturvedi wants the probe to be completed before he makes up his mind whether IPL be closed or not.