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Gautam Gambhir joins BJP: Star cricketer who wanted to join Indian Army turns to politics

Shashank Shantanu
Gautam Gambhir, Gautam Gambhir joins BJP

Gautam Gambhir Joins BJP: “I have been influenced by the PM (Modi), his vision for the country. This is a fabulous platform for me to do something for the country,” said Gautam Gambhir as he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday. Flanked by Union Ministers Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shankar Prasad, Gambhir joined the BJP at party headquarters in New Delhi. He later met BJP president Amit Shah.

Gambhir’s entry into the saffron party comes after days of speculations about him taking the political plunge and contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. The BJP is yet to declare whether the former cricketer will contest elections or not but insiders say he will be fielded from New Delhi Lok Sabha constituency currently represented by Minakshi Lekhi.

Also Read: Gautam Gambhir joins BJP: Former cricketer takes political plunge, may contest Lok Sabha election from New Delhi seat

Gambhir played crucial roles in India’s triumph in the 2011 World Cup and the 2007 T-20 World Cup. He was recently conferred upon the Padma Shri award.

The left-handed batsman, who captained Delhi in the Ranji Trophy and Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL, was known for his on-field aggression. His heated altercation with Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi during the Kanpur ODI in November, 2007 is still etched in the minds of Indian cricket fans.

‘Nationalist’ Gautam Gambhir

Besides his batting prowess, Gambhir is also known for statements on national interest and humanitarian issues. Gambhir, who has openly slammed the Aam Aadmi Party rule in Delhi, had expressed his anger over the February 14 Pulwama terror attack in which over 40 CRPF jawans were killed when a Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into their convoy.

Gambhir had supported the idea of full-scale military response following the dastardly attack.

“Yes, let’s talk with the separatists. Yes, let s talk with Pakistan. But this time conversation can t be on the table, it has to be in a battle ground. Enough is enough. 18 CRPF personnel killed in IED blast on Srinagar-Jammu highway,” Gambhir had tweeted.

“Indian Army but they will bloody well finish it and I am with them emotion-to-emotion, shoulder-to-shoulder,” the 37-year-old cricketer had said.

Gambhir had also denounced thrashing of a Kashmiri trader in Lucknow “Are we setting a new nationalism?” he questioned.

Broad day light, bashing a Kashmiri trader in his own country ! Disgrace ! Are we setting a new nationalism? , ! , Gambhir had said in a tweet.

The temperamental cricketer had also supported the 2017 Supreme Court’s verdict which made it mandatory for people to stand during national anthem in cinema halls.

“Standin n waitin outsid a club:20 mins.Standin n waitin outsid favourite restaurant 30 mins.Standin for national anthem: 52 secs. Tough?” Gambhir had said in tweet.

Gambhir always wanted to join Indian Army

Gautam Gambhir, who is never afraid to speak in mind, had once said that Indian Army was his first love, and that it still remains the same. Joining professional cricket was pure luck, Gambhir had once said.

“It was pure destiny and had I not played Ranji Trophy in the 12th (standard), I would have definitely gone into the NDA because that was my first love and it still remains my first love. In fact, my only regret in life is that I couldn’t join the army,” the former cricketer had told PTI in an interview.

“So when I got into cricket I decided that the best thing I can do now is contribute in what has always been my first love … And I started this foundation that looks after the children of all the martyrs,” Gambhir said who runs a foundation that supports children of martyrs.

(With inputs from agencies)