The match-fixing scandal is set to haunt the former skipper and Congress candidate from Moradabad, Mohammed Azharrudin, with opposition parties planning to rake up the issue in the run upto the polls.
"Congress has brought him here to exploit his image as a cricketer but he is the man who brought India shame with his involvement in the match-fixing scandals. We will remind people about his wrong deeds in our election campaign," BJP's candidate from Moradabad Sarvesh Singh alleged.
Samajwadi Party leaders in the city also have similar views in this regard.
"His poll managers are banking on the Muslim votes but they will not vote for somebody who was involved in a betting scandal and SP will highlight his involvement among the voters of the constituency," SP leader and Moradabad's mayor ST Hassan said.
Soon after Azhar's candidature was announced by the Congress, the local BJP and Shiv Sena cadres held demonstrations in the city against the nomination of a "tainted" man as a candidate in Moradabad, the BJP candidate said.
On his part, Azhar has said that the match-fixing scandal would not affect his political fortunes in the constituency.
The match-fixing scandal hit the headlines in April 2000. The Central Bureau of Investigation, after a six-month probe, named five cricketers, including Azhar, as being involved in throwing matches. The BCCI then banned Azhar along with test cricketer Ajay Sharma for life after their retirement from international arena.
Two other players Ajay Jadeja and Manoj Prabhakar along with team's then Physio Ali Irani were served a five year ban by the BCCI.
BCCI's own inquiry, conducted by former CBI chief K Madhavan, concluded that Azharuddin was guilty of match-fixing and three others - Ajay Jadeja, Manoj Prabhakar and Ajay Sharma - had links with bookmakers.
The life ban on Azharuddin came after the former South African skipper Hansie Cronje accepted his involvement in the match-fixing scandal and named Azharuddin for introducing him to bookies.
In 2006, the life ban on Azhar was lifted after the BCCI failed to prove him guilty in the court of law but the BJP along with other opposition parties is in no mood to agree with the "not guilty" verdict and has decided to make this an election issue against him.