Gautam Gambhir may contest LS elections

New Delhi: Former cricketer Gautam Gambhir may contest the April-May national election as a BJP candidate from Delhi.

The 37-year-old may contest from the prestigious New Delhi constituency currently held by the party’s Meenakshi Lekhi, say sources.
He is a resident of Rajinder Nagar, which falls within the constituency.

Meenakshi Lekhi may be accommodated in one of the other constituencies in the capital, which accounts for seven seats in the 545-member Lok Sabha.

So far, Gautam Gambhir, recently awarded the Padma Sri, has been non-committal about joining politics.

Gautam Gambhir was a high-profile campaigner for Union Minister Arun Jaitley’s 2014 contest in Punjab’s Amritsar; Arun Jaitley lost the election to Congress’s Amarinder Singh, now Chief Minister of Punjab.

The former India opening batsman retired from cricket in December after a 15-year stint. He now runs a community kitchen, besides appearing as a commentator.

His social media posts with strong comments on contemporary politics and incidents raised speculation that he would soon ‘start a new innings,’ to quote a cliche used in many headlines. His Twitter account is full of posts on the Pulwama terror attack, in which 40 soldiers were killed by a suicide bomber of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed. He recently pledged educational support to the children of the soldiers. He has also been extremely critical of Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which rules Delhi.

But BJP sources indicate he may be the ace that the party will introduce in Delhi, which is set for a three-way contest with the AAP and the Congress failing to form an alliance to take on the BJP.

After winning all seven parliamentary seats in Delhi in 2014, the BJP saw the rise of AAP, which won the State elections and reduced the ruling party to a miniscule three in the 70-seat Delhi Assembly.

If he does join politics, Gautam Gambhir will tread the crowded path of cricketers-turned-politicians like Kirti Azad, Mohammad Azharuddin, Navjot Sidhu and Mohammad Kaif.

NT Bureau