CHARKHI DADRI (Haryana): Wrestler Babita Phogat's entry into the political 'dangal' has spiced up the contest for the Dadri assembly seat, where no party has won consecutive terms in the past four elections.
The 29-year-old BJP candidate is pitted against seasoned politicians like Satpal Sangwan of the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) and Nirpender Singh Sangwan of the Congress. Both have won this seat earlier by margins of less than 2,000 votes.
She became a household name after ''Dangal'' (wrestling ring), a film about the struggle of her father and noted wrestling coach Mahavir Singh Phogat to train her and her sister Geeta, became a runaway hit.
As the Commonwealth Games medallist hits the campaign trail, she is received by a group of elders in one of the villages.
"Every time I returned home with a medal, I got so much love and respect here, and this motivated and inspired me to go for the next event with even more determination," she says.
"Now, when I have entered the political 'dangal', I need the same love and support," she tells the gathering.
In Akhtiyarpura village, Phogat is warmly received by a group of women, many among them elderly, with garlands and warm hugs.
She may be a greenhorn in politics, but Phogat says politics has been part of her family. Her mother and an uncle have served as village heads.
"Politics is a platform to serve people. When I am among people, I don't feel as if I am doing anything new. If you work hard and with honesty, people will support you," she said.
Phogat is among the three sportspersons fielded by BJP in the upcoming polls -- the other two are wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt (Baroda in Sonipat) and former hockey captain Sandeep Singh (Pehowa in Kurukshetra).
The Arjuna awardee says like in sports, she will make a mark in politics too and motivate women to take the plunge in this field.
"Women, sportspersons and the youth will be my priority, and for them I will keep doing something or the other," she said.