Lok Sabha elections 2019: After successful debut, MP Rajyavardhan Rathore seeks second innings
Before 2014, Colonel (retd) Rajyavardhan Rathore was known for bringing laurels to the country - he had won a silver medal in the 2004 Olympics.
And after a successful debut in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Rathore has been fielded again by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the 2019 general polls.
Rathore, 48, was a known face when he joined the BJP in 2013 after taking voluntary retirement from the Indian Army. At the time, he had said that he joined politics as he was convinced by the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and with the motivation to make a difference.
Rathore, a greenhorn, was fielded from the Jaipur Rural Lok Sabha constituency against Congress heavyweight and former state and Union minister Dr CP Joshi in 2014. Rathore defeated Joshi by a margin of more than 3,30,000 votes in an election that saw the BJP win all the 25 Lok Sabha seats in Rajasthan riding on a Modi wave.
In his maiden stint as the member of Parliament, Rathore got a berth in the Modi government as a minister of state for information and broadcasting. In 2017, he was made the minister with independent charge of the ministry of sports and youth affairs.
Rathore has been fielded again for the Lok Sabha election 2019 even though the BJP did not perform too well in the Jaipur rural assembly segments winning only two of the eight seats while the Congress bagged five and one went to an Independent candidate.
(Read more: Profile of Congress leader Harish Rawat)
However, party sources said the defeat in the assembly election will not impact the outcome of the Lok Sabha polls. The party is confident that this is Modi’s election and feels that after the IAF’s air strikes on Jaish-e-Mohammed’s terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot, the mood in the country is in favour of the BJP.
Rathore did not have a political background when he entered politics and he said it was difficult to convince his family. He was born in Jaisalmer and his father too served in the Indian Army. His wife, Gayatri, is a doctor in the army.
Rathore graduated from the National Defence Academy and then attended the Indian Military Academy where he was awarded the Sword of Honour for the best all-round Gentleman Cadet.
Along with a distinguished military career, he has also been an ace shooter. He won silver at the Athens Olympics in 2004 after which he shot into the limelight. He won a gold medal at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and 2006 Commonwealth Games. He also won gold medals at the World Shooting Championships in 2004 and 2006.
Sports and fitness are close to his heart and he has been caught on camera boxing with Mary Kom or playing table tennis with both hands for Khelo India campaign. He also threw a Hum Fit Toh India Fit fitness challenge campaign, posting a video doing push-ups.