It seems like politics is becoming the go-to profession for Indian sportsperson. At no time has this been more evident than during and post the 2019 elections phase where a series of athletes switiched to politics.
After retiring from their respective sports, former shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu have turned into big names in politics. Kirti Azad, Jaspal Rana, Mohammad Azharuddin are also among others who started their stint with politics post retirement. Gautum Gambhir is the recent adition to this long list.
Going by this, it would not be wrong to say, that politics seems to be a good alternate as a career option for players as well.
However, with the ongoing saffron upsurge that is covering the country, most players have preferred to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) than Congress, which is losing its base in several Indian states.
Recently, Olympic Medallist Padma Shri Yogeshwar Dutt and former Indian Hockey captain Sandeep Singh also came under the ambit of the saffron wave.
Yogeshwar Dutt, of India’s most successful wrestlers ever and Sandeep Singh joined the BJP ahead of the Haryana assembly elections scheduled in October 2019 and the two will be contesting elections from Baroda and Pehowa respectively.
“I want to serve the people. I’ve been influenced by Modji and hence I decided to join BJP. I’ve been following him for a long time. It’s important to come forward to do good work, including sportspersons. I’m happy to be part of this family,” Yogeshwar had said after joining the BJP.
Yogeshwar Dutt, who won the bronze medal in the 2012 Olympic games, was also in contention for a Lok Sabha ticket from the BJP for recently held Lok Sabha elections 2019. His name was also recommended by the BJP’s state unit.
Along with the above two athletes, Commonwealth gold medallist Babita Phogat also started her stint with the politics. The World Championships bronze medallist will be contesting for the upcoming Haryana assembly elections from Dadri.
Babita Phogat’s father Mahavir Phogat, who is famously known for turning his four daughters into world-class wrestlers by smashing all social conventions has also become a member of the saffron party.
This will be a test for all 3 athletes. Yogeshwar earned himself fame with an Olympic medal. Babita Phogat inspired a movie with her gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games while Surma was dedicated to the achievements of Sandeep Singh.
All 3 have proven themselves in their respective fields.
But now, they have changed their arena.
Gautam Gambhir, an Indian cricket star, had stormed into the political scene with a huge victory over Congress candidate Arvinder Singh Lovely during the 2019 General Elections. He has since been in the news for his work in East Delhi and his stinging comments on Pakistan.
This will be a litmus test for Yogeshwar Dutt, Babita Phogat and Sandeep Singh. Can they prove to be as successful in politics as they were in sports?