Over-exposure, Heatwave Give IPL a Cold Start
Stadium seats go unfilled in first two weeks but things may improve, teams hope
New Delhi | Mumbai: Indian Premier League matches at some venues haven’t been selling out seats like they used to thanks to an overdose of Twenty20 cricket and scorching heat in the two weeks that season nine has been on for. Team principals say things will improve as the tournament progresses. The Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in Delhi, which has a capacity of 41,000, had about 60% of seats filled at its first game earlier this month. The 26,000-seat IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali has had 60% average attendance at three games so far, one of them a 4 pm fixture on a weekend. Eden Gardens, with seating of 64,000, could manage only 60% attendance. Hyderabad saw a 50% crowd at its first game, which started at 4 pm, and about 75% in the night game between the home team and Mumbai Indians.
“Eden Gardens got the IndiaPakistan encounter and also the final of the T20 World Cup just before the IPL started. It is difficult to expect a full crowd at such a big stadium right after that,” said A Subramanian, media manager for the Cricket Association of Bengal, which owns the stadium that’s home to the Kolkata Knight
Riders. “There was also the Bengali new year and yes, the elections.” West Bengal state elections are being held in phases until May 5.
In the previous editions of the league, the Kolkata stadium has usually been full. This year Kolkata got five T20 World Cup matches, including the final. Low stadium attendance at some centres could also be due to the 14.5% service tax that the central government has levied on all sports events, including IPL tickets, an expert said.
The copy was not available as the high court chief justice had to rush to Delhi to attend a meeting of state chief justices and chief ministers which began in the Supreme Court premises on Friday.
Rawat, through senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, and the assembly speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal, through senior advocate Kapil Sibal, vehemently opposed any stay on the high court ruling, but to no avail.
Rohatgi said the Centre had imposed President’s rule (on March 27) because the Rawat government had lost majority the day the speaker refused a division of an appropriations Bill jointly demanded by 27 opposition BJP MLAs and nine Congress MLAs, and declared it as passed by the House. He cited an alleged sting aired on TV to claim that the chief minister was talking about “bribing” MLAs and said that the President could not have turned a blind eye to the “horse-trading”. Rohatgi said the appropriations Bill was yet to go to the governor for his assent. The nine Congress MLAs had since then been disqualified by the speaker, changing the composition of the House before a floor test, he said.
“The fallen government was re- surrected by the speaker. The President can act if he finds the situation on the ground deteriorating,” he said.
Rohatgi said the court could not sit in judgment on adequacy or sufficiency of material with the President to justify his decision to impose President’s rule.
Rawat, through Singhvi, rejected the alleged sting and said, “How can the chief minister not function? Any stay order would mean granting them their appeal.” He later offered to desist from functioning as chief minister, but the court said it cannot leave a “power vacuum in the state”.
Objecting to Rawat’s comments, Rohatgi said, “How can the chief minister say he won’t act? This is making a mockery of democracy.”
Sibal urged the court to impose a status quo. But the bench said a presidential proclamation was a matter of “serious matter” and that it was inclined to hold the ruling in abeyance “in the interest of constitutional propriety”.
The court then directed the high court to make a copy of its ruling available by April 26.