As India take on South Africa in the crucial third ODI at the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) Stadium in Rajkot, Gujarat on Sunday, tensions have risen over the political match being played off the ground between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the Patidar protesters led by Hardik Patel.
The 22-year-old Patel leader, who has been spearheading the community's nationwide protests to press for the demand for reservation to Patidars under the OBC quota, had earlier issued threat of disrupting the cricket match.
Patel had initially claimed that Patidar protesters will fill the Rajkot stadium on the day of the match and will hold up placards to highlight their demand. On Friday, he threatened that the protesters will not allow the cricket teams reach the stadium, claiming that the Saurashtra Cricket Association had denied tickets to his supporters.
He also accused the association of giving out all the tickets to the members of BJP. "I request to declare the details of ticket selling, because we believe that SCA has given all the match tickets to the BJP people," Hardik Patel said, according to the Press Trust of India.
Some reports even suggested that BJP members have bought close to 20,000 tickets at the Rajkot Stadium, which has a capacity of about 28,000.
Local sources told IBTimes India that while the figure may have been exaggerated, speculations are that the BJP has indeed cornered a majority of the tickets.
"Political parties are always known to reserve hundreds of tickets for its members and supporters, and this time, they want to ensure that miscreants are kept out of the stadium," the source said.
Earlier this week, the Gujarati media had reported that the Patidars had bought at least 1,000 tickets for the 3rd ODI match and may just succeed in their plans.
The Gujarat police are not taking any chances and have put in place massive security arrangements to ensure the India-South Africa match takes place smoothly, especially in the light of the Cuttack embarrassment.
Around 2,000 policemen will man the Rajkot stadium on Sunday, while several personnel of the Quick Response Cell (QRC), the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) and the Rapid Action Force (RAF) will be on watch, according to PTI.