Over-ex­po­sure, Heat­wave Give IPL a Cold Start

Sta­dium seats go un­filled in first two weeks but things may im­prove, teams hope

The Economic Times - - Front Page -

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.

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