IPL draws flak from political leaderswho want ban

New Delhi: Buffetted by allegations of spot- fixing by five players and molestation by a cricketer, the IPL today drew criticism from political leaders some of whom demanded an immediate ban on the tournament. RJD Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav said "IPL should be closed."

Asked to react on the spat between actor Shah Rukh Khan, owner of Kolkata Knight Riders, and Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) officials, he alleged the policemen, who were present when the scuffle had broken 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. All India Forward Bloc General Secretary Debabrata Biswas said "IPL is disgraceful for the players and for our country as a whole." Labeling the competition as an "unfair means of gambling aiming at money laundering", he demanded "IPL be banned and this money laundering be stopped immediately."

Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy said the "civilized game" of cricket has been degenerated into a "vulgar" display of money and "immorality leading to national security threat". "I demand that the government ban the IPL tournament forthwith since game`s collateral consequences are a degeneration of a civilized game of cricket into a vulgar display of money, immorality, all converting into a serious national security threat," he said. "The recent incident of vulgar, unruly, rowdy behaviour of some of the players, owners and politicians make it necessary to impose this ban for a brief period", he added.

His comments came against the backdrop of Khan`s tiff with the ground staff at the Wankhade Stadium in Mumbai and the arrest of an Australian player for allegedly molesting an American woman at a five-star hotel here. Advising Khan to be a "little calmer", Union Minister Farooq Abdullah said "his behaviour matters to the industry tremendously and to every young and old in India. Whatever happened, it`s unfortunate."