Cricketer Ambati Rayudu to bat for YSRCP? Rumours rife after meeting with Jagan

With this political debut, Rayudu is amongst the very few cricketers to choose politics as a career from the Telugu states

By Bhaskar Basava  Published on  11 May 2023 1:42 PM GMT
Rumours rife after Cricketer Ambati Rayudu meet Jagan

Amaravati: The 37-year-old cricketer, Ambati Thirupathi Rayudu, is all set to start his political innings from Andhra Pradesh.

This comes a day after Ambati Rayudu joined the club of nine players who have played 200 matches in the IPL. MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Shikar Dhawan, Robbin Uttappa, and Ravindra Jadeja are the other eight players in the club.

However, Rayudu, with a stint in international cricket, aspires for a successful political career. On 11 May, he met Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy in a closed-door meeting at the CMO, Vijayawada.

Sources from CMO told NewsMeter, “Rayudu is likely to join YSRCP ahead of the 2024 Assembly elections.”

Sources further said, “Rayudu discussed ideas on the development of sports in the state. As a resident of Guntur, he was keen to give back to his state by creating more avenues for youth at the grassroots to get to play and learn professional sports. The chief minister welcomed his inputs and wished him the best for his ongoing IPL season with the Chennai Super Kings.”

With this political debut, Rayudu is amongst the very few cricketers to choose politics as a career from the Telugu states. Earlier, former Indian captain Mohammed Azharuddin had entered politics and worked as an MP, and presently he is the working president of Congress in Telangana. Former Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, who just joined the BJP, was also a cricketer who represented Andhra in the Ranji Trophy.

Twitter in split over Rayudu’s camaraderie with YSRCP

Though the meeting with CM Jagan was held on Thursday, Rayudu had hinted at entering politics a few months before on Twitter. He has been tweeting regularly about the YSRCP and heaping praises on Jagan. Following this, a mixed response was observed from his fans as some are not happy with him tweeting in favour of the YSRCP.

When Rayudu had retweeted a YSRCP post of a BTech student from JNTU Anantapur praising CM Jagan for his reforms in the education sector and for providing financial assistance, a Twitter follower replied with school performance statistics highlighting the YSRCP government’s failures and wrote “You know nothing Rayudu.”

Later, Rayudu replied to him saying, “I will be based out of Guntur after the IPL. I will come and meet each and every one of you personally.. let’s discuss our ideas and ideologies. I have nothing but utmost love and respect for all of you (sic).”

How important is Rayudu for YSRCP?

Rayudu is from Guntur and he is a distant relative of Ambati Rambabu who is a minister in the current YSRCP government. Also, he hails from the Kapu community which has taken centre stage after popular actors Konidela Chiranjeevi and Pawan Kalyan entered politics. So, it is interesting to note how Rayudu will take on JSP chief Pawan Kalyan as he also belongs from the same community.

Political analyst and senior journalist from Guntur, Sharma told NewsMeter, “Though Rayudu claims to hail from Guntur, I have never seen his family or him here for the past 30 years. He has very limited networking and no cadre here.”

He added, “It is being rumoured that Rayudu might be offered MP seat in Guntur. If that happens then he will be the first Kapu candidate to contest from here. Till now, in both parties (YSRCP and TDP) the candidates hail from Kamma or Reddy. It is yet to been seen how Rayudu’s community will own him. Almost 2.5 lakh Kapu voters are present in Guntur Parliament constituency out of 15 lakh voters.”

Telakapalli Ravi, a senior Telugu journalist and political analyst, told NewsMeter, “Keeping the political dynamics of Guntur aside, he can reach out to young voters and bring some glamour for the YSRCP which is struggling to appeal to young voters. But in terms of politics, the game here is different than cricket. Here, the score card and pitch are different which is completely dependent on social equations. In Rayudu’s case, it is yet to be seen how will he pick the game.”

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