New Delhi: International wrestler Babita Phogat and her father Mahavir Phogat, whose struggle to coach his daughters in wrestling and their eventual success had inspired the Hindi film Dangal, joined the BJP on Monday.
Joining the party in the presence of Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju, party's general secretary in charge of Haryana Anil Jain and its state chief Subhash Barala, the Phogats heaped praise on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and lauded him for abrogating Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370.
The party believes that the induction of Phogats will help it in the poll-bound Haryana, a state they hail from. Assembly polls are expected in the state later this year.
Arjuna awardee Babita Phogat told reporters that Modi had written history by scrapping Jammu and Kashmir's special provisions and described herself as a "big fan" of him.
Lauding the father-daughter duo, Rijiju called Babita a "youth icon" who has brought laurels to the country by bagging medals at several international events.
Her father is also an icon for coaching his daughters and making them international level wrestlers, he added.
Jain said it was a very significant day for the Haryana BJP.
After the Union government abrogated J&K's special status last Monday, she had tweeted, "This day will always be remembered. Salute to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. Jai Hind."
Twenty-nine-year-old Babita had also defended Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar after he courted a controversy on his "brides from Kashmir" remarks.
"Manohar Lal Khattar ji has not made any such statement which portrays women wrongly and I urge the media not to distort his statement," she had said.
Mahavir Phogat, a Dronacharya awardee who was chief of the Jannayak Janata Party's sports wing, said only Modi was capable of taking big decisions like "avenging" the Pulwama terror attack, which had killed over 40 CRPF personnel in February this year, or "repealing Article 370."
BJP media head Anil Baluni said Mahavir Phogat had lived the ideals of the central government's scheme, 'Beti bachao, beti padhao', by coaching his four daughters as wrestlers against societal pressure of that time.
Babita Phogat is a Commonwealth Games gold medalist and has also bagged medals at several international championships.