Season 12 of the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to go head on with the impending drought situation in Maharashtra and a few other regions, which are venues for the IPL which has been brought forward (March 23) this year due to the ICC World Cup 2019 in May.

Maharashtra which has declared drought in more than 900 villages is among the worst affected states and with the country set to hold the General Elections this year, the problems caused by shortage of water in rural Maharashtra could get a political twist which will directly affect IPL matches. (ALSO READ: Prithvi Shaw hopes to be fit before IPL 2019)

“The idea, therefore, was to keep neutral venues in mind and host matches in areas that are not clashing with the elections. Now, it’s also become imperative to understand the drought situation better. Nobody’s going to be surprised if PILs get filed in the courts,” sources were quoted in a report in the Times of India on Wednesday.

Drought situations had earlier plagued the IPL 2016 when Mumbai Indians and new entrants Rising Pune Supergiant hosted only only five games in Mumbai and Pune respectively forcing the BCCI to shift the remaining matches to Visakhapatnam, the port city of Andhra, which now may also be an area of concern.

According to the report, the Andhra Pradesh government has granted financial assistance of Rs 900 crore to the state from National Disaster Response Fund towards drought relief. Chennai too is suffering after registering a rainfall deficit of 54 per cent in the monsoons last season. (ALSO READ: Owner of IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals all set to sell half of team’s stakes)

In Karnataka, matches are unlikely to be affected as the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA), the host association of the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, home ground of the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), as the stadium has uses treated water from their sewage treatment plant.

“This is election season. With politics at play across the country, given the Lok Sabha polls, nobody here is going to be surprised if the IPL once again becomes the centre of all attention,” say sources.

On the brighter side, those in the know have confirmed that during the current situation, Ranji Trophy matches have been going on at the same venue.

“All Ranji Trophy and other matches have been played at these same venues and the grounds have received their usual share of water supply. But then, Ranji Trophy doesn’t make headlines. IPL does,” a source said.

To put things in perspective, around 450 matches have been held at various venues in the regions during this domestic season. The IPL will have just seven matches in each city if all goes according to plan. “But seven IPL matches have more at stake on all fronts. Media, for one, likes to play up IPL and not these age-group matches,” the source added. (ALSO READ: Steven Smith targeting IPL route to World Cup 2019)

The BCCI are left with a big task at hand. Currently scrambling to chalk out the IPL 2019 schedule and take into consideration the General Elections and the drought situation, it’s left to see whether the administrators can pull off a planned masterpiece much like the action we’ll get to see on the field.