Even as Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore savours his massive win from the Jaipur Rural constituency, the first time Member of Parliament has his feet firmly on the ground. The 2004 Athens Olympics silver-medallist shooter, who won by a margin of 3, 34,000 votes over his nearest rival, former Union minister CP Joshi of the Congress, said he has to learn and adapt well in order to contribute to the debate and policy making in Parliament.
Still, in his own words, the margin of victory was unexpected.
“I came here to win. But, of course, the victory margin has surprised all of us. I mean yes, I expected a margin to win by about a lakh or lakh and a half. Everyone was expecting the same, but 3,30,000 is a huge victory margin. I think it is a message by not only the Jaipur Gramin voters but the rest of the nation as well,” Rathore told The Indian Express.
Rathore is one of the very few former sportspersons who were on the right side of the election results on Friday. Among others who bit the dust were former Indian cricket captain and outgoing Congress MP Mohd Azharuddin (Tonk-Sawai Madhopur) and Mohd Kaif (Phulpur, Cong). Former Indian football captain Bhaichung Bhutia lost from Darjeeling on the Trinamool Congress ticket. BJD’s Dilip Tirkey, former Indian hockey skipper, meanwhile was trailing in Sundergarh, Orissa.
As a first timer Rathore, who quit the Indian Army in September and joined the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), was being considered a rather lightweight candidate against Joshi. However, both the BJP and his personal popularity led to his spectacular win.
“So I have a huge family now,” he said, looking ahead. “And this, my first family, is my priority. I am committed like I always am in every field – be it sports or the Army – everything that I have done is with commitment. Therefore, I am committed to bringing about development to each and everyone to the best of my capability.
“The win gives me the opportunity to sit in Parliament and effect policies. So, wherever I feel I can contribute, be it national security, defence, youth power, their employment and education. Anything that I can fit in I will like to contribute. Also, I need to adapt and learn a lot as well, so that I can contribute better.”
Rathore also rated his latest win ahead of his exploits on the shooting range. “I think each field is important. Having said that my success in sports was limited to myself. My successes could not reach to as many people as it should have for various reasons. Now this victory will ensure many more victory in many other fields.”