Kirti Azad finds Jharkhand pitch bouncy

Kirti Azad. PTI file photo

Unable to allot Darbhanga Lok Sabha seat to the three-term parliamentarian Kirti Azad, the Congress party has now fielded him from Dhanbad in Jharkhand. But the cricketer-turned-MP may find the going tough in the tribal State.

Kirti, who won from Bihar’s Darbhanga Lok Sabha constituency thrice (1999, 2009, 2014) as BJP MP, was suspended from the party for speaking against Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. In February this year, Kirti joined Congress, a party which his father Bhagwat Jha Azad served as MP (from Bhagalpur between 1962 and 1988), Union Minister (in Indira Gandhi Cabinet) and Bihar Chief Minister (1988-89).

However, due to coalition compulsions and pressure from other allies of the Mahagatbandhan, Congress could not field the Darbhanga sitting MP from his bastion in 2019. Kirti was eventually shifted to Dhanbad in neighbouring Jharkhand.

“Dhanbad is not alien territory for me. I was born in Godda (now in Jharkhand, but earlier in undivided Bihar). I have worked in Bokaro Steel Plant (also in Jharkhand) from 1982 to 1993,” said Kirti, who was a member of the 1983 World Cup Cricket winning team.

The cricketer-turned-parliamentarian may face a bouncy pitch in Dhanbad as even before he could start electioneering, the Muslim community, under the banner of Dhanbad Minority Society, criticised Kirti while referring to his father’s alleged role in Bhagalpur riots.

“Those who are saying so, are unaware of the facts. My father resigned as Bihar Chief Minister in March 1989... whereas Bhagalpur riots took place in October 1989,” clarified Kirti, adding that his father was not named in any of the FIRs or was in any way connected with the incident.  

Kirti will be pitted against his former party colleague and sitting BJP MP from Dhanbad, PN Singh. During 2014 parliamentary polls, Singh had defeated Congress’ Ajay Dubey by over 2.9 lakh votes.

FACTFILE:

Kirti Azad is the son of veteran Congress leader Bhagwat Jha Azad, who was Bihar Chief Minister in the 80s.
A right-hand batsman and off-spinner, Kirti was member of the 1983 World Cup Cricket winning team.
Kirti first became a BJP MLA from Delhi, before becoming MP from Darbhanga in 1999. Also won from Darbhanga again as BJP MP in 2009 & 2014. Now in Congress.

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Kirti Azad finds Jharkhand pitch bouncy

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