Former Indian Cricketer, Gautam Gambhir, who was recently awarded with the Padma Shri award by President Ram Nath Kovind, has joined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and is likely to contest 2019 general elections. Just a month ahead of general elections, the BJP has announced his joining in a Press Conference on March 22. He said that he is inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s progressive work and that has acted as a catalyst in his decision of joining BJP. “I am joining this party because I am inspired by PM Narendra Modi’s vision. I am honoured to get the opportunity to join this platform,” said the former opener of the team India, Gautam Gambhir.
I have joined @BJP4India to serve the country with right intent and honesty. I hope through this I can make some meaningful difference to the lives of my people.
— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) March 22, 2019
After denying all the rumours in the past about his entry into politics, the left- handed batsman Gambhir joined the party in the presence of Union Ministers Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shankar Prasad. He also met the saffron party chief, Amit Shah, in New Delhi.
Delighted that @GautamGambhir who brought glory for India in the field of cricket has joined @BJP4India and has committed to actively serve the country from this platform, under the leadership of PM @narendramodi & BJP President @AmitShah
Welcome to BJP Gautam! pic.twitter.com/YbflSWnF2J
— Chowkidar Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) March 22, 2019
While addressing the press conference on Friday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, “Gambhir has excelled in his career and the party hopes to utilize his talent. The BJP will benefit from his talent.”
This is not the first time when a famous cricketer has entered politics. There are several other former cricketers who joined politics and played a successful innings in it. One of the such examples we could discuss about, is Navjot Singh Sidhu, the former Indian opener, who started his political career in 2004 by contesting for Lok Sabha elections on a BJP ticket. In 2007, he contested for the Lok Sabha by-elections for Amritsar and won the seat. In 2017, he joined the Congress party and contested for elections from the Amritsar East Constituency. He won the seat and was appointed as the Minister of Local Government, Tourism and Cultural Affairs and Museums of the State of Punjab.
Kirti Azad, another former cricketer, is currently the Lok Sabha Member of Parliament (MP) from Darbhanga in Bihar. Azad had joined politics on a BJP ticket, but then shifted to the Congress last month.
Mohammad Azharuddin, who is a former captain of the Indian cricket team, began his political career by joining Congress in 2009. He contested in the 2014 general elections from Tonk-Madhopur constituency in Rajasthan, but lost to the BJP’s candidate. In 2018, he was appointed as the working president of the Congress party in Telangana.
Another name from our rival country, Pakistan, is of Pakistan Prime Minister, Imran Khan. He started his career as a cricketer at the age of 16. He led the Pakistani team to the only victory in the World Cup 1992, under his captaincy. Khan joined politics in 1996, when he founded his own political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). He was a member of National Assembly of Pakistan from 2002 to 2007, and again from 2013 to 2018. In the year 2018, he became the 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan.
Other cricketers who have flourished their political career as they did as cricketers are Chetan Chauhan, Mohammad Kaif, Arjuna Ranatunga (Shri Lanka) and Sanath Jayasuriya (Shri Lanka).
However, as the news about Gautam Gambhir joining BJP broke, fans on social media congratulated and wished him luck for his second innings as a politician.
I expected this sir.. but waiting for the moment.. It's now.. you are on right side…
— Manjunath R (@Manzu999) March 22, 2019
According to the reports from sources, Gambhir could be contesting from New Delhi Constituency. However, the party has not confirmed yet.
Gambhir has played lastly for the Ranji Trophy between Delhi and Andhra. In his test career that was 12 years long journey, Gambhir scored 4,119 runs averaging 42.92 while scoring nine hundreds and 22 fifties.
In ODI cricket, which started from 2003 and lasted till 2013, Gautam scored a total of 5,238 runs at an average of 39.68, while bagging 11 tons and 34 half-centuries. He also played 37 T20s for the country from 2007 to 2012, scoring 932 runs at an average of 27.41.
He also played the Indian Premiere League (IPL) and was the captain of Kolkata Knight Riders (one of the teams in IPL). He also played a crucial role in T20 World Cup 2007 and ICC cricket World Cup 2011. His performances in the finals helped India win both the titles.