Olympic hero Rajyavardhan Rathore joins BJP, quits army

Jaipur: Ace shooter and former Olympic Silver medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore today decided to take a shot at politics as he joined the BJP after taking voluntary retirement from the Indian Army.

The 43-year-old colonel entered politics, contending that "I must not back out when the nation is faced with a different kind of threat".

He joined BJP in the presence of party president Rajnath Singh and Narendra Modi, whom he described as a "decisive" leader who should be given a chance to lead the country.

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. AFP

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. AFP

"I know politics and politicians are hated but I still believe in goodness of a heart that has selfless intentions. With the grace of god, I will make a difference," said Rathore who had won Silver medal in 2004 Athens Olympics in Double Trap Shooting.

"For 23 years of my life I have served the nation in war and peace to the best of my ability. I am trained to fight by the finest army of the world and so I must not back out when the nation is faced with a different kind of threat," he said in a statement.

Contending that he finds "very creditable leadership" at the helm of the BJP, Rathore said the party has committed and strong grassroots cadre.

"India today needs decisive leadership and I see that leadership in Narendra Modi and Vasundhara Raje. Like a general that leads from the front, he (Modi) has galvanised a nation that had forgotten to believe. He deserves a chance, India deserves a chance and I am willing to soldier for India," he said.

Welcoming him in the party, Modi said, "It is not just a membership of the party, but a matter of relationship and member of a family...This is like a blood relation...Devotion towards motherland...and commitment to a party."

Talking about his voluntary retirement from army, Rathore said, "I am indebted to the Indian Army, from my birth till now. I have grown and imbibed the indomitable spirit of this fighting force.

"The sacrifices of its men and women have only emboldened me to act free of fear or prejudice. I salute the soldiers and young officers of this great Army. My military spirit is deeper then the uniform I hang. Once an Armyman, always an Armyman."

Rathore is currently embroiled in a legal tussle with the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) over the conduct of its poll, which resulted in the Delhi High Court declaring the polls "null and void".

Along with Rathore, Jaipur Royal family lady Divya Singh also joined BJP at a rally addressed by Modi in in the Rajasthan capital.

Asked whether she will be contesting the upcoming assembly polls, she said, "The party has to decide on it. I just joined the party on a happy note."

PTI


Updated Date: Sep 11, 2013 07:24 AM

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