Hyderabad: If things go as planned by the Telangana unit of the Congress, it could well be former cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin versus AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi for the Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat.
The former India captain is the top pick of the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) for the constituency. It has shortlisted candidates for all the 17 Lok Sabha segments in Telangana, party sources said.
The 56-year-old cricketer-turned-politician, who hails from the city, was appointed as one of the working presidents of the TPCC before the December 7, 2018 assembly elections in the state.
There were earlier reports that he was keen to contest from Secunderabad, now held by senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya, in the Lok Sabha election due by May.
But it now looks unlikely that he would get the party nod to fight from there.
However, it’s not immediately clear if Mr Azharuddin is willing to throw his hat in the ring in Hyderabad constituency, an AIMIM stronghold, represented by Mr Owaisi for three terms now.
“If the party high-command asks him to contest from Hyderabad, he will do so”, a senior TPCC leader told PTI when asked if Mr Azharuddin was indeed in the race.
The ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) has already made it clear that it would support Owaisi in Hyderabad and expects his backing for its candidates in the remaining 16 segments.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha poll, Mr Azharuddin won from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh but in 2014, lost from Tonk-Madhopur in Rajasthan. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the ruling TRS won 11 seats, the Congress two, and the BJP, AIMIM, TDP and YSRCP one each in Telangana.