iconimg Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, January 28, 2014
Former Indian cricket team captain and current Lok Sabha MP Mohammed Azharuddin is likely to contest the 2014 LS elections from a constituency in West Bengal. Azharuddin, who formally joined the Congress in Ferbruary, 2009, had contested from Moradabad in western Uttar Pradesh in the previous general elections, defeating his nearest rival Kunvar Sarvesh Kumar Singh by a margin of over 50,000 votes.

However, the former India captain, who has special ties with West Bengal and especially Kolkata's Eden Gardens, has expressed his willingness to fight this year's election from the eastern state.

“Yes, there is a bright possibility that I will be contesting this year's Lok Sabha elections from a seat in West Bengal,” Azharuddin said on Tuesday.

Azharuddin is known to be close to minister of state (railways) Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who is also a senior Congress leader from West Bengal.

Asked about his preferred constituency, Azharuddin replied, "That decision will be taken by Shakeel Ahmed (Congress observer in West Bengal) and Adhir da. They will decide from which constituency I will contest."    

When asked whether the Congress was on a sticky wicket ahead of Lok Sabha elections, Azharuddin said, "A lot of things have changed since 2009, but the one who has the will to work for the development of people will be the winner".

The former skipper had campaigned for Chowdhury during the last Lok Sabha elections and said he considered the minister as an "elder brother".

Azharuddin's inclination for West Bengal has got a lot to do with his association with the cricket crazy Kolkata. As a 21-year-old, he made his Test debut at the Eden Gardens and scored a century in his maiden appearance.

It was at the Eden that he had saved his captaincy with a match-winning knock of 182 against England in 1993. He also won the Hero Cup in the same year at this very venue.

The 50-year-old former captain pointed out that that he has never returned empty-handed from Bengal.