The Indian Premier League is set to be dealt a massive blow as the Election Commission of India announced on March 10 the dates of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
The Election Commission of India on Sunday announced that the Lok Sabha elections will be held in seven phases. The first phase will be held on April 11, second phase on April 18, third phase on 23, fourth phase on April 29, fifth phase on May 6, sixth phase on May 12 and seventh phase on May 19.
This may deal a serious blow to the Indian Premier League which is scheduled to start from March 23. Recently, the fixtures of the first two weeks of the IPL was announced and although there has been no confirmation on the rest of the league, it is strongly understood that the final will be held on May 19.
This date will clash with the Lok Sabha elections as May 19, which is a Sunday, has also been announced as the date for the seventh and final phase of the general elections. The BCCI has gone ahead with the IPL in India despite the elections and now this announcement may cause problems in arranging for the required security.
Judging by the format of the tournament, the number of teams and the number of matches to be played; it will be very difficult to change the date of the final. The dates of the tournament cannot be postponed either as the ICC Cricket World Cup will begin shortly after. The World Cup which will be played in England and Wales is slated to kickstart on May 30. India's first match in the tournament will be against South Africa on June 5 and the game will be played at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.
The IPL started in 2008 and this edition will be the first time the tournament is being held in India in an election year. In 2009, the entire tournament was shifted to South Africa, while IPL was played in the United Arab Emirates in 2014 for its initial phase. Following the conclusion of the elections, the tournament returned to India and the final was held in Bengaluru where Kolkata Knight Riders was crowned champions.
The counting of votes will take place on May 23. CEC Sunil Arora announced that the Model Code of Conduct comes into effect from Sunday. "Any violation ahead of the Lok Sabha elections will be dealt with in the strictest manner," Arora said.
The announcements were made at a press conference at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi. The phase one will have 91 constituencies in 20 states, phase two will have 97 constituencies in 13 states, phase three will have 115 constituencies in 14 states, phase four will have 71 constituencies in nine states, phase five will have 51 constituencies in seven states, phase six will have 59 constituencies in seven states, and phase seven will have 59 constituencies in eight states.