Former cricketer Santhakumaran Sreesanth will contest the upcoming assembly elections for BJP from Thiruvananthapuram. After being given a life-time ban in the 2013 IPL spot fixing scandal, the 33-year-old said he wanted to give back to the people of Kerala who supported him through his trial. Cricket, however, will remain his first love. Excerpts from an interview.
Why did you join politics all of a sudden?
I have been thinking about politics for some time. I feel more youngsters should join politics. I found it’s the best way to serve the people and the country. I was in touch with the party leadership for some time. I haven’t given up my favorite sport which has given me everything. Every day I dream about getting back to the game. But at the same time, politics is not a stop-gap arrangement for me.
Why did you choose BJP?
I like its ideals and principles. I am great admirer of our PM. I feel people should support him. He’s set to change the destiny of the county.
What will be your strategy?
Like in cricket, I will be aggressive in politics too. But I don’t believe in mud-slinging. I will tell people what I can do in my constituency. I have started learning about the problems plaguing the constituency. People have tried and tested both fronts. It is time to give BJP a chance. I will kickstart my campaigning in a couple of days.
Your opponents say you joined politics just to get rid of the match-fixing charges?
Not true. The court has absolved me of all charges. If they don’t have anything else to say, I can’t help. I don’t want to rake up a fresh controversy at this juncture.
Former minister Shashi Tharoor said the BJP has conceded defeat by fielding you.
I took it as an honor because it came from a good writer and author.