Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal joined the BJP on Wednesday, in a major acquisition for the saffron party just days ahead of the assembly elections in Delhi.
"Today I have joined a party that has done a lot for the country. I hope to do a lot of good work," said Nehwal. Saina added that she would continue to play badminton and will work for the BJP simultaneously. Saina's elder sister Chandranshu Nehwal, has also joined the BJP.
Following this news which came as a surprise to many, Veteran badminton star Jwala Gutta took to Twitter in what appears to be a thinly-veiled remark at Nehwal. Even though she did not explicitly name Nehwal in the tweet, it becomes increasingly obvious of both the timing and the circumstance, of who she is referring to.
In Hindi, she wrote "Pehli baar Suna hai...bewajah khelna shuru kiya aur ab bewajah party join kiya," which translates to "Hearing for the first time, starting to play without any reason, and joining a party without any reason."
Pehli baar Suna hai...bewajah khelna shuru kiya aur ab bewajah party join kiya...— Gutta Jwala (@Guttajwala) January 29, 2020
The comment may have been a jibe because Nehwal didn't mention any explicit reason for joining the political party. However, the first half of the tweet where she alleges that Nehwal started playing the sport 'for no reason,' may not be factually correct.
Nehwal had in an interview revealed that she hadn't played badminton until she was eight years old. Owing to her father's transfer from Haryana to Hyderabad, she was out of place 3,000 kilometers away without a means to communicate. "I didn’t know the local language and I didn’t know any other kids," she says, explaining how that is why she picked up the sport - following which she "never looked back."
Saina is the latest sportsperson to join the BJP after the likes of cricketer Gautam Gambhir, who won the Lok Sabha polls last year, and wrestler Babita Phogat, who lost in the Haryana Assembly polls.
A former world number 1, she has been honoured with the country's top sporting awards like the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award. She has both Olympics and Commonwealth Games medals under her belt. In 2015, the 29-year-old became the first Indian woman shuttler to achieve the World No. 1 ranking. She is currently ranked ninth.