From Karnataka to UP: Sportsmen who turned to politics

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From Karnataka to UP: Sportsmen who turned to politics


There is little space for anything else at this highly charged political atmosphere with Karnataka at its epicenter but it may just be a good time to take a quick look back at some sportspersons who also went on mark their presence in politics. MyKhel takes a look.

Bhaichung Bhutia

The former Indian football skipper is the latest entrant to the political field. Bhutia last month launched his own political party ‘Hamro Sikkim.’ He formed the party months after severing ties with Trinamool Congress.

Dodda Ganesh

The former India pace bowler is from Karnataka stable. Ganesh, who played four Tests and one ODI in the mid 1990s, continued to be a pillar for Karnataka in the domestic cricket till his retirement in the mid 2000s. He entered the political sphere through JD(S) after taking blessings from party supremo HD Deve Gowda,

Olympic medal winner Rajyavardhan Singh migrated successfully from sports to politics

Olympic medal winner Rajyavardhan Singh migrated successfully from sports to politics

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore

The shooter who won silver in the Athens Olympics is now country’s Sports Minister in the Narendra Modi ministry. A favourite of the Prime Minister, Rathore also recently got the additional charge of I&B Ministry after Smriti Irani was shifted as part of Cabinet reshuffle.

Navjot Singh Sidhu

The former Indian cricketer dabbled in commentary after his retirement and entertained many with his ‘Sidhuisms.’ But he took the avatar of a politician through the Congress ranks and now handles Local Government and Tourism portfolios in Amarinder Singh Government.

Former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin represented Moradabad (UP) as a Congress MP

Former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin represented Moradabad (UP) as a Congress MP

M Azharuddin

The former Indian captain’s cricket career ended after the match fixing controversy. But he found a second innings as a politician through Congress. He represented Mordabad, UP, constituency in Lok Sabha from 2009 to 2014. Azharuddin had defeated BJP rival Kunvar Sarvesh Kumar Singh by more than 50,000 votes.

Kirti Azad

Unlike other sportsmen, Kirti Azad comes with a political lineage. His father Bhagwat Jha Azad was the Bihar Chief Minister. Unlike Kirti, who is in the BJP tent, Bhagwat Jha was a Congressman, who was shot on the leg by British police during the Quit India movement.

Kirti is now the MP from Bihar’s Darbhanga constituency and got elected to the Lok Sabha for a third term. However, the former Indian all-rounder is not in the good books of BJP central leadership after leading a personal attack on Arun Jaitley, the senior BJP leader, on the Delhi cricket association corruption issue.

Chetan Chauhan

The former opening partner of Sunil Gavaskar was known for his dour approach at crease but he showed lot more flair as a politician. Chauhan elected twice from Amroha, UP, in BJP ticket and is now the Sports Minister in Yogi Adityanath Ministry.

MA Pataudi

The legendary Indian captain and the England-educated Nawab tried his luck twice in politics. In 1971, he contested from Gurgaon under Vishal Haryana Party ticket against Indira Gandhi’s decision to abolish privy purse for royal families. And later in 1991, he joined Congress, his one-time bitter enemy, and contested from Bhopal. But Pataudi lost on both the occasions.

Praveen Kumar

The India all-rounder from Meerut, UP, has struggled against injuries since 2011. With his India career coming to a halt, Praveen entered active politics through Samajwadi Party after a meeting with then CM Akhilesh Yadav.

Former Indian batsman Mohammad Kaif contested unsuccessfully from Phulpur (UP) in Congress ticket during the last general election

Former Indian batsman Mohammad Kaif contested unsuccessfully from Phulpur (UP) in Congress ticket during the last general election

Mohammad Kaif

One of the stars in India’s epochal win at Lord’s over England in the NatWest Trophy, Kaif contested in Congress ticket from Phulpur constituency in Uttar Pradesh. But he failed and returned to cricket, this time as coach in domestic circuit.



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