Ending high voltage twenty-day long election campaign, Olympian-turned-politician Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore opened up in an exclusive interview with Express his transition from leading disciplined Army life to that of a politician and mood of the Rajput voters in his constituency after rebel Jaswant Singh’s humiliating exit from the BJP.
Q: Since you are a newcomer to politics, did you face resistance from grassroot workers and leaders of the BJP in Jaipur?
Rajyavardhan: I did not ask for the ticket. My name was doing the rounds from several constituencies like Jodhpur, Chittorgarh but never from Jaipur (Rural). People were not expecting my candidature, but they have heard about me as an Olympian shooter. All preparations were made for 2-3 other BJP candidates. But, suddenly my name was announced and certainly it surprised them. However, everybody came on board in the first meeting itself.
Q: You are pitted against a political heavyweight from the Congress C P Joshi. Does it impact the contest?
Rajyavardhan: I don’t consider my opponent a heavyweight anywhere be it in war, sport or now in politics. Realistically speaking, CP Joshi is big because of the position which will not be there in next 10 days. His position was given by the people and it will be taken away by the people. If he is big, why has he changed his home constituency and fighting from Jaipur (Rural)?
Q: What are the people’s expectations from you?
Rajyavardhan: People are so deprived that they will tell you during the campaigning that please come to meet us at least once in a year. It is so bad because those who represented so far completely neglected the electorates after the elections. I want to bring education and employment in my constituency which doesn’t have a single college.
Q: Which is more satisfying, winning a medal or contesting an election?
Rajyavardhan: Of course, politics is more satisfying because you have a chance do something for the people. Your achievement is not just limited to you, but percolates to the masses.
Q: Do you think Jaswant Singh episode will turn Rajput voters against the BJP?
Rajyavardhan: I have not seen any negative impact, at least in my constituency.
Q: So far, you have played individual sport and the politics is the game of masses? How is the transition?
Rajyavardhan: For me it is an education. You need to have lot of patience. This is the best thing that could have happened to me during this stage of my life.