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Azhar keen to contest 2019 polls from Secunderabad

Azhar keen to contest 2019 polls from Secunderabad
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After contesting the last two Lok Sabha elections from Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, Congress leader and former Indian cricket captain Mohammad...

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.

Congress leader and former Indian cricket captain Mohammed Azharuddin, who had earlier contested Lok Sabha elections from Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, has now evinced interest in fighting the 2019 polls from his home turf from Secunderabad constituency.

Though Azhar had informed that final decision would be taken up by the party high command, he said he had conveyed his desire to contest the polls from Secunderabad constituency to the party. The former cricket caption won Lok Sabha election from Moradabad (Uttar Pradesh) in 2009. However, he lost the battle from Tonk-Sawai Madhopur (Rajasthan) in 2014.

In an interview to a news agency, Azhar said he contested from Moradabad and then moved to Tonk as he was “not the sort of person who likes to play safe”. He said he was 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 to farmers and other people.

They all welcomed my decision 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,” the 55-year-old cricketer-turned-politician said. On his chances of winning from Secunderabad, the cricketer said he does not think of winning and losing as he was motivated by the opinion of the people.

“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 LS polls in 2019, from the State. Asked if contesting from Tonk in the 2014 LS polls was a mistake, 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 Goods and Services Tax 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 the sitting MP from Secunderabad.

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