The fringe political groups in Tamil Nadu have called upon the boycott of Indian Premier League (IPL) in the wake of Cauvery water issue. The groups have targeted the cash-rich cricketing league, which is to kick off from April 7, in order to draw the attention of the central government. Chennai is one of the 8 cities that will host IPL 2018 matches and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) is a major IPL team which is returning to the league amid massive anticipation from the public.

A string of legislators, political commentators and actors have slammed the IPL 2018 in a clear bid to push the National Democratic Alliance (NDA)-led Centre into constituting the Cauvery Management Board (CMB). According to reports, the ban on IPL is called upon to send a strong message to the government of India as the farmers in Tamil Nadu are in a miserable state.

Nagapattinam legislator M Thamimun Ansa on Thursday said, “I am not against IPL, or the players who earn several crores of rupees playing the game unlike our poor farmers. If the government goes ahead with holding the league, I request the fans to return their tickets and demand a refund. If players still go ahead and come to play, we would be left with no choice but enter the stadium and imprison them (players).”

The anticipation among cricket is so huge that when CSK players stepped on the pitch for a practice session, more than 10,000 spectators gathered at the MA Chidambaram stadium in Chepauk to witness the practice session. It should be noted that Chennai Super Kings is returning to IPL after serving a two-year ban and the CSK will be led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the upcoming edition of the league.

TVK leader Panruti T Velmurugan said, “In order to condemn the Centre which shows no regard for the livelihood and the identity of the Tamils, we request that the IPL should not take place here – at a time when Tamilians are bursting with anger. If the BCCI conducts the IPL here, and the Tamil Nadu government and the Tamil Nadu police support it, then all those who eat the food produced by farmers will buy tickets and go inside the stadium and protest in a democratic way. Tamil Nadu government, BCCI and the IPL management should not push us to that level. If all our notifications on this matter are ignored, we are ready to come to the streets (to protest).”

Several Tamil Nadu political leaders along with students, lawyers and film associations have joined the ongoing protests against the central government for failing to constitute the CMB for the allocation of water to the state. Ever since the public has hit the streets, state-wide shutdown and hunger strikes have been organised by the state political parties.

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