Olympic Medallist Rajyavardhan Rathore Now Takes Aim At Rajasthan Assembly

Olympic Medallist Rajyavardhan Rathore Now Takes Aim At Rajasthan Assembly

Rajyavardhan Rathore had won a silver medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Jaipur:

As a Padma Shri awardee, an Olympic silver medallist, a retired Army Colonel and a Lok Sabha member who is currently in his second term, taking on and acing challenges seems to come fairly easily to Rajyavardhan Rathore. The double trap shooter is, however, having to adjust his sights and take aim at a new target as he campaigns as a BJP candidate for the Rajasthan Assembly elections from the Jhotwara constituency.

Born in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, in January 1970 to an Army Colonel and a teacher, Mr Rathore was selected for the National Defence Academy and then attended the Indian Military Academy. Commissioned in the 9th Grenadiers Regiment in 1990, he was stationed in Jammu and Kashmir for part of his career and was promoted to his final rank of Colonel in 2009.

Mr Rathore took up shooting as a sport in 1998 and won the gold medal in the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, setting a record of 192 for the event, which is yet to be broken. Two years later, he became the first individual silver Olympic medallist in independent India by winning the medal in the double trap shooting event in the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Political Entry

After taking voluntary retirement from the Army, Mr Rathore joined the BJP in 2013 and described Narendra Modi as a “decisive” leader who should be given a chance to lead the country.

“I know politics and politicians are hated but I still believe in goodness of a heart that has selfless intentions. With the grace of god, I will make a difference,” Rathore had been quoted as saying by news agency PTI. 

“For 23 years of my life, I have served the nation in war and peace to the best of my ability. I am trained to fight by the finest Army of the world and so I must not back out when the nation is faced with a different kind of threat,” he had said.

The shooter contested the Lok Sabha elections from the Jaipur Rural constituency in 2014 and was appointed the minister of state for information and broadcasting the same year. He was appointed the youth affairs and sports minister in 2017 and was also given independent charge of the information and broadcasting portfolio as a minister of state the next year.

Rajasthan Battle

Mr Rathore, who was re-elected as a Member of Parliament in 2019, is one of seven BJP MPs that are being fielded by the party to buttress its attempts to return to power in the state, which has been known for its revolving-door policy. The party, which is fighting without Vasundhara Raje as the chief ministerial face, is wary of having the Congress return to power under Ashok Gehlot in a state where no party has managed to win a second term since 1993. 

The Jhotwara constituency is set to witness a battle between Mr Rathore and Abhishek Choudhary, who was picked by the Congress in place of the incumbent MLA, Lalchand Kataria. The BJP MP is also facing an uphill battle because his selection for the seat had upset Vasundhara Raje loyalist Rajpal Singh Shekhawat, who was expecting to get the ticket. 

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