Know your Candidate: Gautam Gambhir, Former International Cricketer from East Delhi

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Gautam Gambhir

Age: 37 years

Occupation: Former International Cricketer

The former left-handed batsman joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) On 22 March 2019 in the presence of Union Ministers Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shankar Prasad. Gambhir would be BJP’s candidate from East Delhi for the current 2019 Indian general election. The former ace opener is the richest among Lok Sabha candidates in Delhi with total assets worth Rs 147 core.

Personal life

Born on 14 October 1981 in New Delhi to businessman Deepak Gambhir and his homemaker wife – Seema, Gambhir was adopted by his grandparents eighteen days after his birth. At the early age of 10, he started playing cricket. He did his schooling from Modern School, New Delhi and completed his graduation from Hindu College, University of Delhi. He was coached by Sanjay Bharadwaj of Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy in Delhi and Raju Tandon. In the year 2011, Gambhir married Natasha Jain belonging to a prominent business family. He currently resides in Delhi’s Rajendra Nagar neighbourhood.

Cricketing career highlights

  • Gautam Gambhir played a key role in India’s victory in 2007 T-20 World Cup and the 2011 World Cup
  • Between 2008 and 2011, considered to be the golden run of his career, He finished the 2008 CB series earning the credit of the highest run-getter with 440 runs.
  • In 2012, he led Kolkata Knight Riders to victory at the Champions League Twenty20.
  • In 2008, he has conferred the Arjuna Award, India’s second highest sporting award by the President of India.
  • He was recently awarded the Padma Shri for his contribution in Sports.

Political entry

The ex-cricketer had always been vocal about social, security issues and citizen responsibility leading to speculation about his entry into politics. On formally joining the BJP weeks before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, he had stated that he was ‘impressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision’. At the time of his induction into the party, Gambhir said, “I am joining this party influenced by our Prime Minister, his vision. I have done whatever I could in cricket, and this is a fabulous platform for me to do something really good for this country and take this party forward and make this country a better place to live.” Party’s senior leader and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley hoped that the party would benefit from the talent of Gautam Gambhir.

With his political debut, the cricketer-turned-politician has declared nearly Rs 12.40 crore in the income tax returns filed for 2017-18, and that of his wife Natasha Gambhir is Rs 6.15 lakh in the IT returns filed during the same period, making him the richest among the Lok Sabha candidates in the fray in Delhi.

Political views

Recently Gautam Gambhir said that sitting in AC rooms and tweeting on any issue was easy but, his purpose of joining politics was to find solutions to the problems faced by the people. “I have played cricket with true spirit and have now joined politics with the same intention,” Gambhir said.

In a triangular contest in East Delhi, Gambhir is pitted against Congress candidate Arvinder Singh Lovely and AAP’s Atishi Marlena. Taking an apparent dig at AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal who talks about making Delhi similar to London or Paris, Gambhir was quoted saying, “Dilli Ko Dilli Banane ki jaroorat Hain, London ya Paris Nahi (Delhi needs to be developed as a national capital city and not London or Paris).”

At a recent interview when one of the reporters asked about the number of Assembly constituencies and municipal wards in East Delhi, Gambhir promptly replied as 10 Assembly constituencies and 39 wards. Speaking on his plans and priorities, he said, “I am not here to make false promises. What people will speak after five years will be my view.”

Reacting to Congress candidate Lovely’s remark that the former cricketer was an outsider on a picnic, Gautam Gambhir retorted saying, “Lovely should tell whether he was on a picnic in the BJP,”.

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