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Former cricketer Gautam Gambhir to bat for BJP

The former opening batsman joined the party here in the presence of Union ministers Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shankar Prasad.

ET Bureau|
Updated: Mar 22, 2019, 01.10 PM IST
Gambhir played a key role in India's triumph in the 2011 World Cup and the 2007 T-20 World Cup and was recently conferred upon the Padma Shri award.
Former international cricketer Gautam Gambhir joined BJP today in the presence of union ministers Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shankar Prasad and is likely to be fielded from New Delhi constituency in the Lok Sabha elections.

Gambhir, who Jaitley described as one born and brought up in Delhi, would replace Meenakshi Lekhi from the New Delhi seat, according to the buzz in the BJP. He will also be used as a star campaigner and on news channels to bat for the party.

Jaitley, a former Vice President of BCCI and an avid cricket buff, was instrumental in getting Gambhir into the party. There is reportedly a strong anti-incumbency against the sitting BJP MPs in Delhi and if the Congress-AAP strike an alliance, the saffron party will find the going tough. Gambhir, a Punjabi Arora by caste, would get BJP the support of his caste in the New Delhi seat. His appeal among the youth and women would be an added advantage.

Talking to reporters, Gambhir said he joined BJP with “sir’s blessings” (referring to Jaitley) and as he is inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He sees this as an opportunity to do something for the country and “make it a better”.

Replying to questions about Gambhir’s credentials, Jaitley took a jibe at former cricketer Navjot Singh Siddhu. He recalled an incident during a India-Pakistan cricket match in which he showed his aggression. “Unlike a former Indian cricketer who sympathises with Pakistan, if you look at his tweets he does not have a history of that kind,” Jaitley said.

Gambhir has played all levels of cricket for Delhi, captained two different IPL teams as well as played 58 tests and 150 One Day Internationals. Post retirement from international cricket, he has been engaged in commentary during important matches.

“We consider this a prominent induction into the party…. I have full confidence that the party will use his talents,” Jaitley said.

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