22 Mar 2019: Ahead of national elections, former cricketer Gautam Gambhir joins BJP
Former cricketer Gautam Gambhir, who was part of India's World Cup-winning squad, joined BJP on Friday in the presence of Union Ministers Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Gambhir retired from all forms of cricket in December 2018 and was given the Padma Shri recently.
The cricketer has been vocal about political issues and his plunge will most likely help saffron party boost its prospects.
Decision: Gambhir hopes to live up to the expectations
Speaking about his decision, Gambhir said he was "influenced" by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision.
"I have done whatever I could do in cricket and this is a fabulous platform for me to do something for the country," he said.
Separately, Jaitley said people of "excellence" were joining BJP. Party President Amit Shah was also present at the event.
Rumors: Earlier, Gambhir dismissed reports of joining BJP
Speculations about Gambhir joining the BJP have been doing the rounds for quite some time now.
However, he dismissed the reports recently. Reportedly, Gambhir said he has played cricket his entire life and would want to spend time with his two daughters now.
Gambhir also said commentary in the upcoming season of IPL will keep him busy, so he would not join politics.
Sehwag: Reportedly, BJP wanted Sehwag to take the plunge too
Apart from Gambhir, BJP also reached out to legendary batsman Virender Sehwag with a similar offer.
The party wanted Sehwag to contest elections but he refused.
"He has categorically turned down the party's offer. But we can engage him for the party's campaign. His name was being considered from west Delhi seat," a BJP leader told NIE.
Seat: Gambhir may get New Delhi seat
Reportedly, BJP is planning to field Gambhir from New Delhi seat, which is currently held by Meenakshi Lekhi.
Reportedly, MLCs and ground workers wanted the party to change the candidate this time fearing anti-incumbency.
It should be recalled that Gambhir shares an old connection with BJP. In 2014, he campaigned for Arun Jaitley, who was contesting from Amritsar seat at the time.