2024 Lok Sabha: DMK to field M S Dhoni against Gambhir in Delhi?

Tamil Nadu’s ruling DMK party, that on Thursday, announced to seek candidature for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, is looking to open negotiations with former Team India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni to convince him for his election debut from the national capital. If things go well, it could be against Gautam Gambhir in East Delhi.

| Updated: 18 February, 2024 3:57 pm IST
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NEW DELHI:  Tamil Nadu’s ruling DMK party, that on Thursday, announced to seek candidature for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, is looking to open negotiations with former Team India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni to convince him for his election debut from the national capital.

DMK party sources say that DMK’s general secretary Duraimurgan has spoken to Dhoni on a possibility of meeting between chief minister M K Stalin and Dhoni on fighting Lok Sabha elections against his cricket team-mate Gautam Gambhir in East Delhi.

“We have just formed a three-member team for inviting applications. As far as Dhoni is concerned, he shares a special bond with Chennai because of his participation in the IPL as captain of the Chennai SuperKings. We don’t have anything much to say,” said Duraimurgan.

Dhoni’s fitness remains a matter of discussion of whether he would continue another year at IPL.

Gambhir, who had won 2019 Lok Sabha election with a vote share of 55.35 %, had left behind Arvinder Singh Lovely and Atishi Marlena, by a hefty margin of more than 3.5 lakh votes. The left-handed batsmen, continues to remain a popular leader in Delhi despite criticism by the Opposition on his cricket commentary contracts.

DMK’s entry into Delhi, at a time when BJP’s holding hectic rallies across Coimbatore, Tirupur and Pollachi, whether it comes as a pact with Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) or Congress is not clear. East Delhi has been a dominant seat for the BJP, even since 1967 when Hardayal Devgun of Bharatiya Jan Sangh had won here. However, eight out of 10 Vidhan Sabha constituencies in Gambhir’s Lok Sabha were won by AAP in 2020 Delhi polls. Former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit’s son Sandeep had represented East Delhi seat between 2000-2009, having been elected twice from this Lok Sabha when his mother was the head of Delhi.

While the regional party AIADMK, which is the principal opposition to the DMK, is shying away to forge an alliance with the BJP, the saffron party is giving confusing signals on whether it wants to play an aggressive role in Tamil Nadu after it chose to send L Murugan to the Parliament via Rajya Sabha while also declining to comment if state president Annamalai would be given a Lok Sabha berth or not.

“We had last held our meeting with DMK in January on Lok Sabha polls. The next meeting is in February last week. All seat sharing pacts would be completed at the end of this month,” said senior Congress leader in Delhi.

Many say the rivalry between Dhoni and Gambhir may be one of the reasons for DMK to consider the Jharkhand player for elections.

In the recent past, Dhoni has held meetings with Stalin at felicitations and private functions.

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