Bengaluru, January 29: Saina Nehwal on Wednesday (January 29) joined the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), which rules the Centre. The badminton star has shown her leaning towards the BJP through her social media accounts, often praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The 29-year-old Saina, who married another Indian shuttler Parupalli Kashyap in 2018, is a highly decorated sportsperson having won the bronze medal in the London Olympics 2014.
"Today, I am joining a party that performs well for the country. Modi Ji has done so much for sports in India with initiatives like Khelo India. Looking forward to work hard for the country and the people," she said in a statement released through the BJP's official Twitter handle.
She was also the world's No 1 ranked badminton player in 2015 and has won 24 international titles. Saina has also won the country's top sports awards like Arjuna Award and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award during her illustrious career. Saina is likely campaign for BJP the upcoming Delhi Assembly elections.
Saina would be joining the likes of former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir and wrestler Babita Phogat as sportspersons in the BJP ranks while former international shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who had won a men's doubles trap silver in the Athens Olympics in 2004, was a Sports Minister in the first NDA Government at centre from 2014 to 2019.
However, Rathore did not get an extension in his post when the Modi-led Government retained the power at Centre. Kiren Rijiju is the new sports minister.