‘Dangal’ champs, hockey heroes enter Haryana’s poll fray

Chandigarh, Oct 1, 2019-

Real-life ‘dangal’ stars and Olympic champions Yogeshwar Dutt and Babita Phogat alongside former Indian hockey captain Sandeep Singh have entered the political arena as BJP nominees in the October 21 Haryana Assembly polls.

For Dutt, 36, who won a bronze in 2012 London Olympics, politics is a platform where one gets a chance to remove all loopholes from the system, while for Phogat, 29, joining politics means having the opportunity to do something for the country.

Flicker Sandeep Singh, 33, who was paralysed and was on the wheelchair for two years after being hit by an accidental gunshot in a train in 2006, believes Prime Minister Narendra Modi is an inspiration for him. By joining politics, he wants to serve the nation.

The names of the three Olympians were among the first 78 candidates cleared by the BJP’s central leadership on Monday.

“Politics is a platform where we get an opportunity to remove all the loopholes from the system which we have been removing so far now,” Dutt told on Tuesday.

“I firmly believe that not only I, but the entire nation is impressed with the policies and personal credibility of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said.

Without mincing words, the wrestler said despite his tough policies, he got the second stint of the Prime Minister.

Praising Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, he said the work done by him with honesty clearly reflected his loyalty to the nation.

All the Olympians had to resign from the state government jobs before joining the BJP.

Two-time Commonwealth Games gold medalist Babita Phogat, daughter of wrestling coach and Droncahraya award winner Mahavir Singh Phogat, whose character was played by Amir Khan in blockbuster “Dangal”, is also impressed by Modi’s policies and programmes.

“When you are representing a country in international competition, the country’s prestige is at stake. Likewise, when you are working for a (political) party, you have to deliver and work with devotion for a cause,” she said.

“As I could not join a political party as a government employee, I decided to quit and join politics,” said Babita, whose mother was sarpanch twice.

Hailing the government decision to abrogate Article 370 and 35-A, she said, “It’s a historic decision. I feel proud to be associated with this party.”

Hockey Olympian Sandeep Singh, whose recovery from injury inspired Diljit Dosanjh starrer Bollywood flick “Soorma”, said he has been following the BJP for a long time.

“I have been influenced by Prime Minister Modi. I want to serve the nation in all earnestness,” he said.

It was a life-threatening injury for him but he returned to the national team in 2008 owing to his grit and determination.

Yogeshwar has been fielded from Baroda assembly constituency in Sonepat district, while Sandeep Singh is from the Sikh-dominated Pehowa seat in Kurukshetra district and Babita is from Dadri in Charkhi Dadri district.

Political observers say the three Olympians, the greenhorn in politics, will be testing the waters from the seats that the saffron party has never won.

In the 2014 assembly elections, the Congress candidate defeated his nearest rival of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD).

In Pehowa and Dadri seats, the INLD candidates emerged winners.  (Agency)

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