Mixed Luck For Ex-India Cricketers - Sreesanth Loses, Laxmi Ratan Shukla Wins
Former Indian cricket team players S. Sreesanth and Laxmi Ratan Shukla made their political debut in this year's Assembly elections.
S. Sreesanth of BJP lost in Thiruvananthapuram on his political debut
Laxmi Ratan Shukla won in West Bengal on a Trinamool ticket
Football star Baichung Bhutia of Trinamool was routed in Siliguri
S. Sreesanth was clean bowled while former Indian all-rounder Laxmi Ratan Shukla bowled a perfect yorker on their political debut in the 2016 Assembly elections.
Contesting on a BJP ticket from the Thiruvananthapuram constituency in Kerala, Sreesanth chased leather as VS Sivakumar of Congress won by a handsome margin of 10,905 votes. Sivakumar, an advocate, had won by 5,352 votes in the 2011 elections.
Sreesanth was a surprise BJP choice. The tainted former speedster was in the eye of the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal and was even jailed. Although he was cleared by a court, the Delhi Police is still pressing charges against the former Rajasthan Royals bowler and his teammates Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan.
Interestingly, 33-year-old Sreesanth was banned from all forms of cricket by a BCCI committee that was headed by BJP heavyweight and current Union finance minister Arun Jaitley.
Thirty-five-year-old Laxmi Ratan Shukla rode Trinamool Congress' popularity in West Bengal to win the Howrah (North) seat. The ex-Bengal Ranji all-rounder polled 61,917 votes to get the better of Congress candidate Santosh Pathak and celebrity BJP candidate and former actress Rupa Ganguly.
Shukla is not the only Bengal sportsperson contesting the elections. Two former football stars - Baichung Bhutia and Dipendu Biswas - were also in the fray.
Trinamool backed Bhutia, however, lost his second elections. This time, Bhutia, was tripped by former CPM minister and Siliguri heavyweight Ashok Bhattacharya by a massive margin.
In pre-election interview to NDTV.com, Bhutia had said he was surprised to be chosen as a candidate but had to obey "Didi's (Mamata Banerjee's) orders." Having known the popular Bhattacharya from his playing days, Bhutia will not be disgraced with this defeat.
A Tata Football Academy graduate, Biswas is also a Trinamool candidate. The former national striker, who turned out for all three Big clubs of Kolkata, won the Basirhat (South) seat scoring 88,085 votes. BJP's Samik Bhattacharya was second with 64,027 votes.