He may be busy with the T-20 World Cup in Bangladesh, but political parties — at least two — want Team India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni in Ranchi at the earliest to campaign for them.
Born and brought up in Ranchi, Dhoni shares a good rapport with several local politicians who are in the fray for the Lok Sabha polls. Prominent among them are the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) Party candidate Sudesh Mahato and his Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) counterpart Amitabh Choudhary.
Ranchi is slated to vote on April 17. The T-20 World Cup is ending in the first week of April. The next big event would be the IPL 7, starting April 16, in the UAE. There is a strong possibility of Dhoni visiting home for a couple of days. Both AJSU and JVM-P want to encash his presence to the fullest. “Dhoni has been a brand ambassador of the Election Commission and has motivated youth to exercise their voting right,” said Choudhary, the president of Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA).
On more than one occasion, Choudhary has claimed that he had spotted Dhoni at local league matches and paved the way for his entry into international cricket. Hence, Dhoni, Choudhary and his supporters feel, should come to support their party.
“Mahi’s appeal would certainly boost the new voters to cast their votes. And if at all he volunteers to support us, it would be icing on the cake for us,” he added cautiously. The AJSU Party camp, on the other hand, feels that Dhoni, who has earlier participated in several programmes organised by the party’s non-political wings, should support his dear friend’s quest for a berth in Parliament.
“We haven’t sent any request to him, but AJSU supporters would definitely want him to be there to support us,” said Mahato.
But he was wary too. “Dhoni has his own values. Besides, he is a professional cricketer. Hence, it would be better that we keep our fingers crossed.”