Cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir led a roadshow in the capital on his first day of campaigning after being named as the BJP candidate for the ongoing Lok Sabha polls from the vital East Delhi constituency, saying that he wanted to do "something different" for the people in his new innings as a politician.
"I was a cricketer, I am not a cricketer [anymore]. I did what I had to do on the cricket field, it's a different field and it's a different challenge... I have always had the right intention to do something good for the country and change a lot of things in the society and hopefully I touch a lot of lives. So I hope I can live up to the expectations," he said.
It was his "intentions" that set him apart from his main opponents the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Congress, Mr Gambhir claimed.
"Nothing has happened while the Aam Aadmi Party has been in power [in Delhi] for four-and-a-half years, there hasn't been any progress. Nothing has happened in development front, or infrastructure front. Hopefully we can do something different for the people of Delhi," he said.
"National security is the topmost agenda. I have always believed that there were so many times when the government could have taken a stronger decision but they couldn't. If you talk about 26/11, Congress could have taken a far more stronger decision but they couldn't. What the BJP has done in the last five years - whether it was Uri or air strikes in Balakot - I think that kind of a leadership is very important," he added.
The 37-year-old, who filed his nomination papers today, also praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "The honourable Prime Minister has done a lot in the last five years. Hopefully I can carry the legacy forward," Mr Gambhir said.
Mr Gambhir has replaced Maheish Girri as the BJP candidate from East Delhi, lining up a clash with Arvinder Singh Lovely of the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) star candidate Atishi.
A veteran of 58 Tests and 147 one-day internationals, Gautam Gambhir was a key member of the Indian teams that won the T20 World Cup in 2007 and the One-Day International World Cup in 2011.
He was inducted into the BJP exactly a month ago, joining a league of more cricketers-turned-politicians like Kirti Azad, Mohammad Azharuddin, Navjot Sidhu and Mohammad Kaif.
East Delhi, along with six other seats in the capital, will vote on May 12. Results are expected on May 23.
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