Chennai: Opposition to Indian Premier League (IPL) matches to be held in Chennai intensified on Monday with a pro-Tamil outfit agitating over Cauvery issue threatened to hold protests outside the game venue tomorrow.
A host of cinema personalities also wanted the matches to be postponed but an official of IPL franchisee Chennai Super Kings (CSK) said the matches will go on as per schedule.
Tamil Nadu has been witnessing protests for the past one week urging the Centre to constitute the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) in compliance with the February 16 order of the Supreme Court on the water sharing dispute with Karnataka.
Political parties and outfits have demanded that IPL matches not be held at a time when the state was witnessing widespread agitations on the vexed issue.
Pro-Tamil outfit Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi (TVK) on Monday warned of picketing the MA Chidambaram stadium on Tuesday if the IPL stuck to its Chennai calendar, with the city all set to witness its first contest on Tuesday.
MS Dhoni-led CSK and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), captained by Dinesh Karthik, will lock horns in the first game in Chennai on Tuesday at 8 PM.
"If the match is held despite our plea, we will coordinate all democratic forces to stop it by organising a massive picketing protest. Many leaders, organisations will participate," TVK chief T Velmurugan told reporters.
"Cricketers knowing Tamil, please understand our sentiments," he said.
Later, Velmurugan told news agency PTI that his party or outfits that have joined hands with it were not against the players.
A 'massive' protest has been planned outside the Neyveli Lignite Coproration (NLC) in Cuddalore district on Tuesday against the Centre on the issue, he added.
The demands include suspension of electricity supply to Karnataka from the power station till Tamil Nadu gets its due share of Cauvery water, he added.
Meanwhile, a group of prominent cinema actors and directors launched a forum to back Tamils' cause in the state and called for 'postponement' of IPL fixtures in the state.
Veteran film director Bharathiraja, part of the forum, told reporters that IPL will "divert" the prevailing "awakening" among youth in Tamil Nadu over the Cauvery issue.
"Tamil Nadu is boiling... we are not saying there is no need for IPL... Please postpone (the matches). IPL will divert the awakening among the youth over the Cauvery issue," he said.
However, CSK CEO KS Viswanathan said the team's home matches will go on as per schedule.
The city police has been informed about the schedule and will handle the situation accordingly, he added.
Meanwhile, security has been stepped up for the players, even as more personnel have been deployed outside the cricket stadium and the hotel where they are put up.
On Sunday, Tamil 'superstar' Rajinikanth had said the Centre might face the wrath of entire Tamil Nadu if CMB was not set up immediately.
He had also expressed reservations over conduct of IPL matches in the city at this juncture, saying such a gala event would be an embarrassment when the state was agitating over the Cauvery issue.
It would be good if the organisers stopped the matches here, and if not, the CSK team players could wear black bands and play, he had said....