• Tuesday, May 28, 2024

INDIA

Olympic medallist Vijender Singh joins Modi’s party from Congress

Singh fought the 2019 Lok Sabha election unsuccessfully from the South Delhi constituency

Vijender Singh joins BJP in the presence of party leader Ramvir Singh Bidhuri at the party headquarters in New Delhi. (ANI Photo/Sanjay Sharma)

By: Pramod Thomas

INDIA’s first Olympic medallist in boxing, Vijender Singh, who took a plunge in politics in April 2019 by joining the Congress, switched to prime minister Narendra Modi’s party on Wednesday (3).

Addressing a joint press conference with BJP leaders in New Delhi, Singh praised Modi and said that the respect for Indian sportspersons has increased in the country and abroad since the party came to power in the country.

“I am the same old Vijender. Whatever I would feel wrong, I would call it wrong. I will call it right if I feel it is right,” said Singh who had been a vocal critic of the BJP and had come out in support of farmers’ protests and wrestlers’ stir, often expressing his views on social media.

A number of leaders have switched their parties ahead of Lok Sabha elections.

Singh joined the BJP in the presence of party national general secretary Vinod Tawde and other senior leaders of the party.

“I am joining the BJP under the leadership of prime minister Modi, home minister Amit Shah and party president JP Nadda. In a way it is my ‘ghar wapasi’ (homecoming),” he said, adding “There is a saying in English- ‘Good to be back’. I am feeling very good”.

Singh fought the 2019 Lok Sabha election unsuccessfully from the South Delhi constituency on a Congress ticket.

His name was doing the rounds for the last few days as the party’s nominee from Mathura, from where actor and incumbent MP Hema Malini has been fielded again by the BJP.

He comes from the Jat community, which has political influence in a large number of seats in Haryana, his home state, western Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

“When we travelled abroad to fight (participate in matches) in the UK, Dubai, Ireland and other places, many times there used to be so many things at the airport. Since the BJP came at the helm under Modi, it has become easier for us to go anywhere,” Singh said.

The 38-year-old trailblazing boxer had delivered India’s first Olympic and men’s world championship medals back in 2008 and 2009 and joined professional boxing in 2015.

Singh said he would work for the welfare of the people.

“Under the leadership of Modi, our government has taken many meaningful steps for the welfare of youth and sportspersons in the last 10 years due to which Vijender ji has joined us,” Tawde said.

“The BJP will certainly utilise his (Singh’s) strength in Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and all other regions. I am confident that the BJP will succeed in achieving its target more firmly with his joining the party.”

(PTI)

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