Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters in New Delhi on Monday witnessed the joining of two renowned sports personalities -- Babita Phogat and her father Mahavir-- in the party's fold, in the presence of BJP leader and sports minister Kiren Rijiju among others.
"Welcome to this nationalist party", BJP spokesperson l Baluni told the Phogats.
Rijiju welcomed Mahavir into the party and said, "He is an ideal of India and our society. Hailing from a small village, he worked hard to bring laurels to the country. As sports minister, I thank him for his contribution and as a BJP member I welcome him the party".
Hailing Babita, Rijiju said, "I believe she is an inspiration for the youth of the country. She can still practice her sports after joining the party. I am hopeful that after joining she will work for the party but continue her association with the sports. As the sports minister, I will make sure that her talent keeps inspiring the coming generation".
Talking about his association with BJP, Dronacharya Awardee Mahavir said, "I am very pleased by this association. I was impressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for avenging Pulwama attack. Further by abrogation of Article 370, Modi once again proved his leadership. I had hence decided to join this big family and will fulfill whatever responsibility is bestowed upon me."
Interacting with media persons, Babita hailed the leadership of Modi and said, "Since many years I have been a big fan of Narendra Modi. I was into sports hence couldn't get associated with the party then. But now after they have scrapped Article 370 and made history that will be written in golden letters, I am very delighted to join this party."
The two sportspersons also met with BJP's working president JP Nadda after joining the party.
The joining has come at a time when the state that Babita represents, Haryana, is going to polls in the months to come. Senior party leaders believe that this joining will send a positive message in the state that is known to have produced many sportspersons.
Mahavir was earlier a member of Jannayak Janata Party, a splinter outfit of Indian National Lok Dal headed by Dushyant Chautala.
Recently, after being called out on micro-blogging site Twitter for remaining quiet on Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar's comment regarding Kashmiri girls which later turned out to be misconstrued, Babita had defended Khattar.
"Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has not made any such statement that is offensive to our sisters and daughters. I urge media to not misinterpret his statement," Arjuna awardee Babita said while replying to a journalist on Twitter.
Elections are due in Haryana this year for electing members to the 90-member Assembly.
( With inputs from ANI )