Tamil superstar Rajinikanth has said hosting Indian Premier League (IPL) matches in Chennai at a time when people of the southern Indian state are protesting over Cauvery and other issues is an "embarrassment".
The actor who recently floated a political party, urged the authorities to shift IPL matches out of Chennai but maintained that the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) players should at least wear black armbands and play at the MA Chidambaram Stadium if the authorities cannot change the venue at the last-minute.
Rajnikanth made the comments Sunday, April 8 on the sidelines of Tamil actors' day-long protest against the central government's failure to set up the Cauvery Management Board (CMB).
Embarrassing to host IPL matches amid protests: Rajinikanth
"At a time when the entire state is demanding the CMB, all the hype and hoopla around IPL is embarrassing. It will be good if there are no matches held in Chennai," Rajinikanth told the media in Chennai.
He added: "If it cannot be done, at least to echo the sentiments of Tamil people and grab the attention of the entire nation, Chennai players can wear black armbands and play.
"I urge the BCCI, the IPL administrators and the team management of the CSK to accommodate this.
"Fans, including students and youngsters, can go to the stadium wearing black armbands as a mark of protest."
Following the press meet outside his residence at Poes Garden, Rajnikanth went on to join his colleagues in the protest held by Nadigar Sangam (Tamil film actors' association) in Chennai.
He joined the likes of Kamal Hasan, Dhanush, Vijay, Sivakarthikeyan, Nassar, and composer Illayaraja among others at the protest.
Even before Rajinikanth, several sections of the Tamil society, including politicians, political commentators, and celebrities, opposed the hosting of IPL 2018 matches in Chennai.
The CSK management is in touch with the Chennai police over the law and order situation in the city, according to The Times of India.
Meanwhile, protests over delay in establishing the CMB intensified across Tamil Nadu in the last week.
The Opposition in the state organized a statewide bandh on Thursday, April 5 while the ruling All India Anna Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam observed a day-long fast demanding the CMB be set up.
The Supreme Court, in a February 16 order, had directed the central government to set up the CMB within three week's time as neighbors Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are constantly at loggerheads over the decades-old river water-sharing.
The Tamil Nadu government has moved the apex court, seeking contempt action against the Centre over the failure of constituting the CMB within the stipulated time, according to the Press Trust of India.
The Centre had sought three month's time to implement the order, citing the upcoming assembly elections in Karnataka.