Lok Sabha Polls: Why ‘Gandhi Favourite’, Boxer Vijender Singh’s ‘Ghar Wapsi’ to BJP is Big Blow for the Congress

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and boxer Vijender Singh during the Bharat Jodo Yatra, in January last year. (Image: PTI)

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and boxer Vijender Singh during the Bharat Jodo Yatra, in January last year. (Image: PTI)

Sources said Olympic medallist Vijender Singh was close to the Gandhi siblings, Rahul and Priyanka, and often spent time with them and gave them boxing lessons

It was a solid punch in the face of the Congress from Olympic medallist and boxer Vijender Singh, as he called his return to the BJP on Wednesday “ghar wapsi”. And the timing could not have been worse.

While Congress MP Rahul Gandhi displayed a show of strength filing his nomination from Wayanad in Kerala, Vijender dealt another blow by refusing to comment on the senior leader. And this after the two were clicked, twirling their moustaches, during the Bharat Jodo Yatra.

According to sources, the boxer was close to the Gandhi siblings and would often spend time with them and give them boxing lessons. He became close to them in 2017 at a public event where Vijender asked Rahul a question that only few get to ask: ‘When are you getting married?’

Over time, Vijender was often seen siding with issues raised by the Gandhis. One of the most prominent ones being during the wrestlers’ agitation against BJP leader and former wrestling chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

Now comes the tricky part – the Olympian is now in the party that he had accused of being against the wrestlers. But, when asked he said he will always stand by the members of his fraternity.

But, the trolling is not expected to stop anytime soon. So, what went wrong? Many in the Congress are flummoxed. Until a couple of hours before joining the BJP, he was calling many in the Congress about his ticket from Mathura. But, he was greeted with only silence that is believed to have irked him.

Vijender had contested on a Congress ticket from Delhi in 2019, but had lost. Originally from Haryana’s Bhiwani, he is handy for the BJP to win over the Jats who may have been offended by the wrestlers’ agitation. While there is no confirmation on this, it cannot be ruled out that, at a later stage, he could become the head of the Wrestling Federation of India.

While this could negate some of the flak he has faced, for now it is a loss of someone close to the Gandhis and a sting that cannot be forgotten soon.

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