As the 2019 Lok Sabha elections begin in the nation on Thursday with the voting for the first phase entailing 91 seats kicking off, the small but growing community of sportspersons who have turned politician has also made its presence felt.
Former Indian Cricket team captain Mohammad Azharuddin was seen coming out after casting his vote in Hyderabad on Thursday. The image of the former cricketer was posted on ANI's twitter account.
The veteran of 99 Tests and 334 One Day Internationals who had led India in three consecutive World Cup in the 90's had joined the Indian National Congress in 2009. He ended up winning the Indian General Elections in the same year from Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh to become the Member of Parliament. Currently, Azharuddin is the Working President of the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee, though he has not been fielded by the party in the state.
Whereas one former Indian cricketer was casting his vote down south, further up north, another Team India star from a different era than Azharuddin - Gautam Gambhir - was campaigning on behalf of MoS PMO Dr Jitendra Singh in Jammu. Gambhir, who recently joined the BJP, had taken on Azharuddin just a few months ago following a row over Azhar. The 2011 World Cup winner had expressed his disappointment on the social media when Azharuddin had rang the bell at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata to mark the beginning of the first Twenty20 International (T20I) between India and the West Indies.
Apart from the two cricketer-turned-politicians, a former Indian football icon, Bhaichung Bhutia has also got in on the electoral action. The ex-striker who had also founded his own party, the 'Hamro Sikkim', last year posted his photograph on Twitter after he casting his vote and urged people to exercise their right to vote in order to elect a good representative for themselves.
Voting for the 543 Lok Sabha seats is be held in seven phases: April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19. Counting will be done on May 23.