Hyderabad: Former cricketer-turned-MP Mohd. Azharuddin was appointed as one of the working presidents of the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) on Friday. The latest decision in Telangana by the Congress high command is being seen as one to woo the 12.5% Muslim electorate in the state with an eye on the upcoming 7 December state polls.
Azharuddin, a former captain of the Indian cricket team and former MP, is associated with the Congress’s current election campaign. He had won the Moradabad Lok Sabha seat from Uttar Pradesh in 2009 and in 2014 lost when he contested the Tonk-Sawai Lok Sabha seat from Rajasthan.
While there is no confirmation, there is talk within the party that Azharuddin might contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from the Secunderabad seat, which is currently held by former Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya. The former cricketer is looking at the Lok Sabha seat next year, but there is strong opposition from within the party by ex-MP Anjan Kumar Yadav, who won the same seat in 2004 and 2009.
Yadav had in fact publicly expressed displeasure against Azharuddin getting the Secunderabad Lok Sabha seat next year. His followers had even created a ruckus a few months ago in the TPCC office in Hyderabad when word spread that the seat might go to Azharuddin.
In the upcoming Telangana polls, the caretaker chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao-led Telangana Rashtra Samithi is facing the Congress-led grand alliance, comprising the Telugu Desam Party, Telangana Jana Samithi and the Communist Party of India. Rao had dissolved the assembly on 6 September citing “political fragility", and is seeking re-election for a second term.
The poll results will be announced on 11 December, along with that of four other poll-bound states.