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Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

Amid speculation over defection to TRS, Azharuddin meets KTR

The meeting took place a day after Azhar, who is presently Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) working president, got elected as president of the Hyderabad Cricket Association. The other elected members of the HCA also joined Azhar in the meeting with KTR.

india Updated: Sep 28, 2019 21:19 IST
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
Former Team India captain Mohammad Azharuddin after being elected as the president of the Hyderabad Cricket Association in Hyderabad on Friday.
Former Team India captain Mohammad Azharuddin after being elected as the president of the Hyderabad Cricket Association in Hyderabad on Friday.(PTI PHOTO.)
         

Former Indian cricket captain and senior Congress leader Mohammad Azharuddin on Saturday met Telangana Rashtra Samithi working president and state Information Technology minister K T Rama Rao, amidst speculation that he is all set to join the ruling party.

The meeting took place a day after Azhar, who is presently Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) working president, got elected as president of the Hyderabad Cricket Association. The other elected members of the HCA also joined Azhar in the meeting with KTR.

Speaking to reporters later, Azhar said he had met the TRS working president to seek the cooperation of the state government in the smooth administration of the HCA and promotion of cricket in a big way.

The ace cricketer evaded a direct answer to the query as to whether and when he was going to join the TRS. “I have come here to request the state government’s support to cricket. It was a courtesy call and I did not discuss politics,” he said, but did not deny the speculations regarding his joining the ruling party.

Azhar said he would meet chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao soon and seek his support. He was all praise for the TRS government in encouraging sports. “It is giving a lot of importance to promotion of sports in the state,” he said.

Former Hyderabad Cricket Association president and ex-MP from Peddapalli parliamentary constituency, G Vivek, who quit the TRS and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party recently, alleged that Azhar had a secret understanding with the TRS leadership, which supported him in the HCA elections.

“It is for sure that Azhar will join the TRS and that was an understanding with KTR for supporting his candidature,” said Vivek, whose nomination for the HCA president’s post was rejected by the Electoral Officer on grounds of conflict of interest. His company Visaka Industries had a sponsorship contract with the HCA that fell apart.

Attempts to reach Azhar did not yield any result, as he did not respond to the calls and text messages. Congress official spokesperson Dasoju Sravan said there was no such information with the party. “I don’t think he will leave the Congress,” Sravan said.

Rumours of the 56-year-old stylish batsman joining the TRS had done the rounds in political circles in Telangana before the assembly elections in December 2018. He registered his protest at the Congress high command by abstaining from the public meeting of Sonia Gandhi at Medchal in Hyderabad on November 23, though his name was among the list of invitees to be present on the dais.

Subsequently, Azhar was appointed as the working president of Telangana PCC and was understood to have been assured of a party ticket from Secunderabad parliamentary constituency for the April 11 general elections. However, he did not get the ticket.

He had earlier represented the Moradabad Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh in 2009. He lost from the Tonk-Sawai Madhopur constituency in Rajasthan in 2014.

First Published: Sep 28, 2019 21:18 IST

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