Former Indian cricket team player Gautam Gambhir joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on March 22, accepting the membership in the presence of Union ministers Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shankar Prasad.
The 37-year-old Gambhir, who hails from Rajinder Nagar in Delhi, was a high-profile campaigner for Jaitley in Punjab's Amritsar seat during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. BJP lost that constituency. Since then, the cricketer has been vehemently supporting the party and the Narendra Modi-led government’s policies on Twitter, while his vitriolic, and most times ill-informed comments on the Kashmir issue has drawn flak from many quarters.
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With Gambhir joining the BJP just a month ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, it is likely that he would contest this time around. The BJP is yet to declare the constituency from where the former India opener would contest but IANS quoted sources as saying that he may contest from the New Delhi constituency currently held by Meenakshi Lekhi (BJP).
After the announcement, Gambhir, who announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on December 4, 2018. met BJP president Amit Shah.
Gambhir had an illustrious playing career with the Indian cricket team. He played 58 Tests, scoring 4,154 runs at an average of 41.95, including nine centuries and 22 fifties. The ICC World Cup winner played 147 ODIs, scoring 5,238 runs at an average of 39.68 and a strike-rate of 85.25.
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Gambhir played a pivotal role in India's two recent World Cup victories -- the inaugural edition of ICC World T20 in 2007 and the ICC World Cup 2011. India beat Pakistan to win the World T20, with Gambhir scoring a match-winning knock of 75. In the ODI World Cup final four years later, he scored 97 against Sri Lanka to help India to the title.
His form, however took a dip since 2015, intriguingly coinciding with his increased political comments on social media. He last played for India in the first Test against England at home in 2016.
(With inputs from IANS)
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