Opposition over hosting of Indian Premier League matches in Chennai intensified on Monday, with a pro-Tamil outfit agitating over Cauvery issue threatening to hold protests outside the match venue on Tuesday.
The state government, on its part, put the onus on the IPL governing body for conducting the matches.
“The cricket board has been apprised of our sentiments," Fisheries minister D Jayakumar said.
He said "it would be good" if the BCCI respected the sentiments and not conduct the match here but government would provide all support including security as per laid down guidelines.
The state has been witnessing protests for the past one week urging the Centre to constitute the Cauvery Management Board (CMB).
The first tie in Chennai, between Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) is scheduled on Tuesday, but a pro-Tamil outfit warned of picketing the M A Chidambaram stadium.
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) warned of picketing the stadium on Tuesday if the IPL stuck to its Chennai calendar. As per the schedule, the M S Dhoni-led CSK and KKR, captained by Dinesh Karthik, will lock horns 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 and organisations will participate," TVK chief T Velmurugan told reporters.
"Cricketers knowing Tamil, please understand our sentiments," he said.
Later, Velmurugan told PTI that his party or outfits that have joined hands with it were not against the players.
Meanwhile, a group of prominent film 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 here IPL will "divert" the prevailing "awakening" among the 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 Cauvery issue," he said.
However, CSK CEO K S 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.
Fisheries minister Jayakumar said the IPL management only should decide on holding matches..
"The cricket board (BCCI) should decide on whether to conducting IPL (in Chennai) or not. We have conveyed our sentiments. Organising the matches here now is a matter to ponder over," the minister said.
Security has been stepped up for 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.
On February 16, the Supreme Court raised the 270 tmcft share of Cauvery water for Karnataka by 14.75 tmcft and reduced Tamil Nadu's share while compensating it by allowing extraction of 10 tmcft groundwater from the river basin.
The court had granted six weeks time to the Centre to formulate a scheme to ensure compliance of its 465-page judgement on the decades-old Cauvery dispute, which modified the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal award of 2007.
The court had also made it clear that it will not be extending time for this on any ground.
The six-week period ended on March 29.
IMAGE: Chennai Super Kings players celebrate a wicket (Image used for representational purposes)