Vajpayee predicted great future for Kaif

Vajpayee predicted great future for Kaif

 Ten years ago, former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had predicted a great future for cricketer Mohammad Kaif who is now batting against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Phulpur constituency.

But, even as Kaif’s political fate was sealed on Wednesday, it remains to be seen whether Vajpayee’s prediction will be a reality only on May 16 when poll results are announced.

Kaif (33) has a curious feather on his sleeves which no other Congress candidate can claim — to be the poster boy of BJP ten years ago in Uttar Pradesh to garner Muslim votes. Vajpayee had then invoked the name of Kaif, who was then having a superb series in Pakistan, to woo Muslims to vote for the BJP-led NDA. The former prime minister used to talk about Kaif during 2004 election rallies in Uttar Pradesh and said that “one of your sons” Kaif has done a “splendid job” in Pakistan winning matches for India. The picture of Kaif embracing Sourav Ganguly after a match was also used in a BJP advertisement, which had Vajpayee’s open letter to Muslims.

In one of the election rallies in Maharajganj, Vajpayee was quoted as saying, “He (Kaif) stretched out his hand and the ball was in his grip. He hit the balls outside boundaries, changing the colour of the game. And remember, he is from Uttar Pradesh.” Kaif hails from Allahabad.

He also mentioned about a meeting he had with then captain Ganguly who sought his blessings and went on to say, “Look at me, this man does not know how to hold a cricket bat and he has become a Prime Minister. Now watch out for the future of this cricketer Kaif. God knows how big a person he would be in future.

When Vajpayee remarked about Kaif”‘s future, he might not have thought about a political innings for Kaif.

Reports suggest that Kaif is on a sticky wicket in the constituency as local Congress leaders were against any “parachute candidate”.

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