The upcoming assembly polls in Haryana, where the political landscape has been dominated by seasoned politicians, will see an interesting mix of candidates, including international wrestlers, a former hockey captain and a TikTok star, try their luck.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded Commonwealth Games medallist Babita Phogat (29) and Olympic medallist Yogeshwar Dutt from Dadri and Baroda constituencies respectively.
The party has fielded former Indian hockey captain Sandeep Singh (33) from Pehowa and TikTok star Sonali Phogat from Adampur.
All four joined the ruling party weeks before the polls October 21 polls.
The BJP has 48 members in the outgoing assembly. It has set a target of winning 75-plus seats in the 90-member House.
Babita became a household name after ''Dangal'', a film about the struggles of her father and noted wrestling coach Mahavir Singh Phogat to train her and her sister Geeta Phogat, became a runaway hit.
The Arjuna awardee exuded confidence that like sports, she will make a mark in politics too and motivate many women to take the political plunge.
"Women, players and youth will be my priority and for them I will keep doing one or the other thing," Babita told PTI.
Asked why she chose to join the BJP, Babita said she was impressed by the party's ideology and the bold decisions taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government.
"For a sportsperson, country is above all and I wanted to connect with a nationalist party," she said.
On his campaign trail in Baroda, Dutt echoed similar sentiments.
"It is not just me, but entire nation has been impressed and impacted by the pro-people policies of our governments at the Centre and in Haryana," he said.
"For me, politics is a platform to serve," he added.
Sandeep, whose miraculous recovery and comeback after a gunshot injury inspired the Daljit Dosanjh-starrer Bollywood flick "Soorma", also lauded Modi.
He said Modi is an inspiration not just to him but millions of countrymen.
In 2006, the ace drag flicker was injured after the pistol of a Railway Protection Force jawan went off accidentally while he was travelling by Kalka-New Delhi Shatabdi Express to Delhi to join the Germany-bound hockey team.
He made a successful comeback after the injury kept him out of action for a long time.
TikTok star Sonali, who regularly shares videos of her lip-syncing Bollywood songs on the video-sharing app, is busy campaigning in Adampur these days.
After the BJP had announced her candidature, she said, "I am thankful to the party leadership for giving me a chance to serve the Adampur constituency."
Sonali is pitted against Congress veteran Kuldeep Bishnoi.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)