According to a report published in Bengali daily Anandabazar Patrika on Thursday, the Congress had requested three star cricketers from the north, namely, Virender Sehwag, Yuvaraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh to contest the polls.
Film personalities like Sharmila Tagore, Akshay Kumar and Mahima Chowdhury were also given the proposal to contest the polls. But neither the cricketers nor the filmstars have shown any inclination to accept the offer. Sehwag and Yuvaraj have reportedly cited cricketing commitments as the reason for their inability to contest the polls. Chowdhury wanted to contest the polls but on the BJP's ticket, said the daily report.
But why is the Congress running after celebrities in the North? It is precisely because the party is unlikely to do well in three north Indian states, namely, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi. It had won 25 out of 30 seats in these three states in the 2009 election but the forecasts are too poor this time.
It lost the assembly polls in Punjab and Delhi in 2012 and 2013 respectively and chances also look low in poll-bound Haryana. Is the initiative to invite celebrities a desperate effort by the Congress to overcome its drawbacks?
The Congress has made cricketer Mohammad Kaif its candidate from the historic Phulpur constituency in Uttar Pradesh while Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishen and Odiya actress Aparajita Mohanty have been made candidates in Jaunpur and Cuttack, respectively.