International wrestler Babita Phogat and her Dronacharya awardee father Mahavir Phogat, whose struggle to coach his daughters and their eventual success inspired a Bollywood film, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday.
Union Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju, BJP general secretary in-charge of Haryana Anil Jain and Haryana party chief Subhash Barala welcomed the Phogats at an event in New Delhi.
Rijiju termed Babita a “youth icon” who has brought laurels to the country by bagging medals at international events. Her father, who coached his daughters and made them international level wrestlers, is also an icon, he added.
Jain said it was a very significant day for the Haryana BJP.
The induction of the Phogats comes before the Haryana Assembly polls, due in October.
A source close to the Phogat family said the BJP may field Babita from Badhra or Dadri Assembly constituency. The 29-year-old Commonwealth Games gold medallist has already resigned from the post of sub-inspector of Haryana Police.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Babita’s cousin Rahul Phogat said the family is ready to accept any responsibility the party deems fit for them.
Babita’s village Balali is in Badhra constituency.
In New Delhi, Babita said, “I am a big fan of PM Narendra Modi. I am impressed with the work he has done. I am very happy I have joined the BJP family”.
“I am happy about the Prime Minister’s move on Article 370. I believe the entire country would be happy with this move and everybody would like to associate with the BJP family. Our Prime Minister has changed a page of the history and it will be written in golden words,” she added.
While Babita was not active in politics, her father was chief of the sports wing of Jannayak Janata Party floated last year by former Hisar MP Dushyant Chautala following a split in INLD. Phogat said only Modi was capable of taking big decisions like “avenging” the Pulwama terror attack.