Mohammad Azharuddin keen to return to Secunderabad for 2019 polls

Mohammad Azharuddin keen to return to Secunderabad for 2019 polls
Highlights

After contesting the last two Lok Sabha elections from Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, Congress leader and former Indian cricket captain Mohammad Azharuddin is keen to fight the 2019 polls from his home state Telanganas Secunderabad constituency

Azhar, has conveyed his desire to fight from Secunderabad to the Congress high command, but a final decision is yet to be taken.

New Delhi: After contesting the last two Lok Sabha elections from Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, Congress leader and former Indian cricket captain Mohammad Azharuddin is keen to fight the 2019 polls from his home state Telangana's Secunderabad constituency.

Azhar, who won the Lok Sabha election from Moradabad (Uttar Pradesh) in 2009 but lost in 2014 from Tonk-Sawai Madhopur (Rajasthan), said the final decision from where he would contest would be taken by the Congress high command, but he has conveyed his desire to fight from Secunderabad to the party.

In an interview to PTI, Azhar said he contested from Moradabad and then moved to Tonk as he was "not the sort of person who likes to play safe".

Azhar said he is keen to contest from Secunderabad as a lot of people have told him that he should fight from his own state this time.

"I have visited so many places and villages in the constituency and spoken with farmers and other people, they all welcomed me to contest from there," he said.

"I have conveyed my feelings (to the party and the leaders in-charge of the state). At the end of the day, the party is the supreme power. I am not the captain (here), if I were the captain, I would have chosen the constituency right away," the 55-year-old cricketer-turned-politician said.

On his chances of winning from Secunderabad, Azhar said he does not think of winning and losing as he was motivated by the opinion of the people.

"I want to work for the people there (Secunderabad). I have worked very hard in the constituency, but I don't believe in publicity," said Azhar, who hails from Hyderabad, whose twin city is Secunderabad.

"What I gathered from my party is that they are also keen that I go there (Secunderabad)," he said. The Congress' Telangana unit last year had urged Azhar to contest either the state assembly polls or the Lok Sabha elections in 2019, from the state.

Asked if contesting from Tonk in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls was a mistake, he answered in the negative. Azhar said that what happened with Moradabad was that in the assembly elections in 2012, there was an issue with ticket distribution and a lot of workers went away to different parties, so that was the reason for not contesting from there. He said he gave a good fight from the Rajasthan seat and so it was not a mistake.

"You can't play safe all the time. I am not the sort of person who likes to play safe," he said.

Asked what made him choose Congress when he took the plunge into politics, Azhar said, "I wanted to join the Congress as it is a secular party. Also, I had great respect for Mr Rajiv Gandhi." Azhar said the farmers' problems and difficulties caused by GST and demonetisation were the most important issues that needed to be addressed and claimed that there was resentment against the central government in rural areas over these issues.

Bandaru Dattatreya of the BJP is currently the sitting MP from Secunderabad.

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