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Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019

Lok Sabha Elections 2019: BJP trying to rope in cricketer Harbhajan Singh for Amritsar constituency

Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Cricketer Harbhajan Singh, when contacted, acknowledged that the BJP recently contacted him to contest from Amritsar but there was nothing concrete in this regard so far.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Mar 15, 2019 12:15 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva
Ravinder Vasudeva
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Cricketer Harbhajan Singh says he is not sure if this is the right time to join politics.
Cricketer Harbhajan Singh says he is not sure if this is the right time to join politics.(ANI File )
         

The Bharatiya Janata Party is in talks with cricketer Harbhajan Singh to field him from the Amritsar Lok Sabha constituency for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections after it has failed to find a strong local face for the seat.

A senior BJP leader privy to the development said the party is in touch with Harbhajan, who till Wednesday was busy with commentary for the India-Australia cricket series.

Harbhajan, when contacted, acknowledged that the BJP recently contacted him to contest from Amritsar but there was nothing concrete in this regard so far. “I have not met any top BJP leader on the issue,” said the 38-year-old, who is the second highest wicket taking off-spinner in test cricket after Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan.

“I am not sure if this is the right time to join politics. Even if I make up my mind, there is very less time left to make preparations for the polls,” he added.

A popular Sikh face, especially among the youth being a cricketing icon, Harbhajan fits the bill for the BJP from the Amritsar seat where it does not have a strong local candidate, said a party leader. Moreover, Punjab local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, also a former cricketer, won on party ticket from the parliamentary constituency thrice before he joined the Congress in the run-up to the assembly elections in 2017.

Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, who contested from this seat in 2014, had lost to Amarinder Singh. “In 2014, the BJP lost the seat because of an unprecedented anger against the Akalis. There is no denying the fact that after Sidhu, Harbhajan is the most popular cricketer from Punjab,” said a senior party leader.

The party feels Harbhajan’s star tag might help it outsmart the Congress in the seat as the ruling party in Punjab is likely to come up with a local candidate after former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh denied to contest from the seat.

State BJP chief Shwait Malik said he was not aware about any talks with the cricketer and said if something was there it must be at the party high command level.

First Published: Mar 15, 2019 09:07 IST

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