NEW DELHI (AFP) - Cricket's lucrative Indian Premier League is shopping for bullet-proof buses and cars to protect its star players even as the fate of the tournament remained uncertain on Friday. The Times of India said a South African private security firm hired by the multi-million dollar Twenty20 league had approached a local company to buy 16 special buses and 64 armoured SUV's - worth roughly 3.1 million dollars in all. The scramble for additional protection came last week in the wake of the deadly attack against the Sri Lankan team in Pakistan on March 3, which killed eight Pakistanis and injured seven players.But the paper pointed out that with demand high from Indian politicians campaigning for next month's general elections, the IPL may be unable to buy shielded vehicles at such short notice. The report comes as the IPL remained embroiled in a row with the Indian government over security.Less than a month before the scheduled opening on April 10, the home ministry has still not cleared the tournament because it clashes with parliamentary elections. The IPL is due to be held April 10 to May 24, while the elections take place across the country in five phases from April 16 to May 13, with counting of votes on May 16.The government wants the 59-match schedule to be adjusted in such a way that states hosting games do not have to pull out security forces on election duty to guard the tournament. Home minister P. Chidambaram said on Friday that the elections were "unquestionably" first priority for the government. "I can't exempt any state government from giving to the election commission the forces they have promised," Chidambaram told the CNN-IBN news channel in an interview to be aired on Sunday. "I have also made it clear that I cannot spare any central paramilitary forces (for the IPL)." Asked if the IPL should be called off if the dates were not sorted out, Chidambaram said the decision lay with the organisers. "I think the organisers are responsible people. I think they are patriotic Indians. I think they will take a call," he said. Chidambaram said it was not sufficient for a match to be held on a date that did not coincide with elections in a particular state. "If the election is taking place in a neighbouring state or just across the state border, if we have an IPL match in the state, there could be problems," he told the channel. Although the IPL has hired a private security firm to liaise with local authorities, police and paramilitary forces will still be required to protect the cricketers, officials and fans. Fears have been expressed that the IPL may also be a target for militants after the militant attacks in Mumbai in November and on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan earlier this month.