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Rediff.com  » News » Who says Modi could become the PM, asks Azhar

Who says Modi could become the PM, asks Azhar

March 21, 2014 22:29 IST

Who says Modi could become the PM, asks Azhar

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Shahnawaz Akhtar in Jaipur

Mohammed Azharuddin, who has bagged the Congress ticket from Tonk-Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan, tells Rediff.com’s Shahnawaz Akhtar that there’s nothing called a ‘Modi wave’ as people of the country haven’t yet forgotten the ‘barbaric’ 2002 communal riots in Gujarat.

The former Team India captain also praises Rahul Gandhi’s long term vision, and denies anti-incumbency as the reason behind his party’s decision to move him out of Moradabad, his previous constituency.

The wonder boy of Indian cricket, Mohammed Azharuddin, who recently got the Congress ticket from the Tonk-Sawai Madhopur Lok Sabha constituency in Rajasthan, has been camping in Jaipur since Thursday.

On Friday he visited the Ajmer dargah and soon after returning to Jaipur, Azharuddin, usually known as man of few words, spoke candidly about his political experience to cricketing career and about the forthcoming movie on his life, to Rediff.com.

“(Congress vice president) Rahul Gandhi thinks of long term goals, which is a sign of a good leader. But what is best about him is that he does not make personal attacks. He thinks and then speaks. Now he is also backed with solid experience after travelling across the interiors of the country and meeting the aam aadmi. He wants to lead people of all the communities and not just a few,” Azhar says.

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Image: Azharuddin, donning a traditional Rajasthani pagdi, speaks to Congress leaders during a function in Jaipur
Photographs: Chandra Mohan Aloria/Rediff.com

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'Connecting with people of Sawai-Madhopur isn't a problem'

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However, he has some pointed arguments against opposition Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi.

“Who says he could become the prime minister? He is just a party’s candidate and nothing much. People of India haven’t forgotten the 2002 riots as it was too barbaric,” he points out.

He also negates that there is any “Modi wave” and even denies that he chose a safe seat.

Azharuddin was first elected as the Member of Parliament from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh but now has got the party ticket from a constituency in Rajasthan. When asked is it because there’s anti-incumbency against him, Azhar says, “No, I didn’t choose Tonk-Sawai Madhopur. I am contesting elections here as the party has told me to contest from here, and if the party would have fielded me from Moradabad, I would have been fighting from there”. 

The former Team India captain also maintains that when he was playing for the country, there were players from across the country in the team and they used to drink water from the same bottle. “So such practices make all players equal” and he is used to such kind of an environment, he says.

“When we play for India, the entire country cheers for us; so we belong to the whole nation and not just one place,” he explains, reasoning that it isn’t a problem connecting with the people of Tonk-Sawai Madhopur.

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Image: Azharuddin greets people during a function in Jaipur
Photographs: Chandra Mohan Aloria/Rediff.com

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'Ajinkya Rahane is my favourite fielder in Team India'

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You can’t really talk to Azharuddin and not discuss cricket. So when asked about the rising fielding standards, the master fielder comments, “Nowadays, most of the players in international cricket are good fielders, but in Indian team my favourite is Ajinkya Rahane as he can field from any position”.

Straying away from cricket and politics, on being asked about his upcoming biopic, he says, “It will take time as it is on primary stage.”

The former cricketer is also being accompanied by his 23-year-old son Mohammad Asaduddin, who was chosen in Rajasthan Royal squad for 2012 Indian Premier League but could not participate because of a tennis elbow surgery.

“I have come here to accompany my father but my main aim is to play for India one day. I have played for Hydrabad’s under-22 team and several other tournaments,” says Asaduddin, a left hand batsman.

 


Image: Azharuddin with his son Asaduddin in Jaipur
Photographs: Chandra Mohan Aloria/Rediff.com

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