People’s Distress Made Me Join Cong: Boxer & Neta Vijender Singh

Ten years after he won an Olympic medal in boxing for India, Vijender Singh is set for another big fight.

Published08 May 2019, 01:16 PM IST
Elections
3 min read

Video Editor: Mohd Irshad
Cameraperson: Sumit Badola

Ten years after he won the first-ever medal in boxing at the Olympics for India, Vijender Singh is set for another big fight – this time as the Congress’ candidate for South Delhi.

The 33-year-old from the cradle of Indian boxing – Bhiwani in Haryana – was nominated from the South Delhi constituency, just days after he joined the Grand Old Party, locking him in a three-way fight with BJP's sitting MP Ramesh Bidhuri and Aam Aadmi Party's Raghav Chadha.

Why did you choose to join politics now? Why Congress?

I chose Congress because I like their vision,their leaders – Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi. It is the party that has stood by the poor and daily labourers. The party does not talk big lies but presents a true vision to the people. Why not (join politics) earlier? There were some things. It could have been postponed to later. But I thought, given the state of the country today, all kinds of people are distressed. I thought I should join politics now. So, here I am in politics.

But, if there is one particular reason that pushed you towards politics, what would that be?

My entire family is in the army. My grandfather was in the army. My father is a driver in roadways. We started from level zero and here we are. I have a dream that a driver’s son should not become a driver and a labourer’s son should not become a labourer.

You are up against two known faces from South Delhi politics. Aam Aadmi Party’s Raghav Chadha, who has been associated with politics since he was 22 and Bharatiya Janata Party strongman Ramesh Bidhuri. Even in their campaigns, they make it sound like a two-way campaign. Does that make Congress a non-player in the constituency?

I don’t consider either of them a stronger candidate. I will put before the people my thinking, my vision and I will tell (people), this is me. If they like me, they can vote for me. If they don’t want, then it is their choice.

You are from Haryana. Do you understand the issues of south Delhi?

My house is just 1 km away from here. There will be a party at my house when I win the elections, you can even see my house.

You went to a Mohalla clinic, claiming to expose the AAP. Turns out you reached 40 minutes late, not knowing that it shuts at 2:00 pm every day. This was even called out as fake news on social media platforms. Will you apologise for it?

Why should I apologise? What are these timings? They are saying it will be open from 8 am to 2 pm? What is this? Is this Aam Aadmi Party timings? The government timings are usually 9 to 5. This is just throwing lies to cover their lies.

The AAP campaign is being run on the promise of full statehood. But it does not feature in Congress party’s manifesto. Do you not support full statehood for Delhi?

It is a big issue but I don’t want to say anything about this. What if Chandigarh wants to be a full state? Tomorrow, some other (union) territory will want to be a full state. This is like unnecessarily forcing someone to do something.

Will we continue to see Vijender the boxer?

Yes, of course.

But there is a concern that since you train abroad, how long will you be available for people.

I will create an infrastructure to train here. It is my dream to bring boxers from world over to fight here.

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