"President Xi Told Me He Has Seen Dangal": PM's Pitch For Babita Phogat

Wrestler Babita Phogat joined the BJP in August. The 29-year-old, who will make her election debut in the forthcoming Assembly polls, won gold at the 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games

PM Modi was addressing an election rally in Haryana

New Delhi:

Xi Jinping has seen 'Dangal', a 2016 Hindi movie based on the life of Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning wrestler Babita Phogat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today while campaigning for Ms Phogat, a BJP candidate in Haryana polls due on October 21. The 29-year-old first-time politician is contesting from the Dadri Assembly seat and declared herself "thankful" for the PM's praise.

"During my recent informal summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, he said to me that he had seen 'Dangal' movie which showcased excellent performance of daughters of India," Prime Minister Modi said, adding, "I felt really proud of Haryana on hearing this".

"Thankful for such big words coming in from the PM... he even lauded the movie 'Dangal'. I am sure I will win big from here," Babita Phogat told news agency ANI.

Wrestler Babita Phogat and her father Mahavir Phogat joined the BJP in August.

A two-time gold medal winner at the Commonwealth Games - 2014 and 2018 - Ms Phogat's sporting success, as also that of another Haryana wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, another BJP candidate, has been projected by PM Modi's party as its commitment to promoting sports and physical education.

"We endeavor that our young comrades engage more and more with sports and contribute to the society moving forward. This is the reason why many colleagues like 'Beti ' (daughter) Babita are joining the BJP and working with full dedication among you," he said.

Babita Phogat became a household name after 'Dangal ' - a film about the struggle of her father and noted wrestling coach Mahavir Singh Phogat to train her sister Geeta and her - became a runaway hit.

Newsbeep

She credited PM Modi as her inspiration to join politics, pointing to "bold decisions" like the decision to withdraw special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370.

The Prime Minister, who has led the BJP's election charge in Haryana, built his speech around the theme of women and sports, weaving in references to 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' the flagship scheme of his first term in power and crediting villages in the state for its success.

"Villages in Haryana came forward to save the daughter - the Beti Padhao movement would not have been so widespread successful," he said, adding, "We should dedicate this Diwali to our daughters who have brought glory to our family, society and country".

Prime Minister Modi and Xi Jinping met in the South Indian temple town of Mamallapuram on October 11 and 12. The two leaders engaged in what Mr Jinping called "candid conversations like friends... heart-to-heart discussions on bilateral relations".

With input from PTI, ANI