With Krishna Poonia’s win Sadulpur constituency of Rajgarh, Rajasthan got its second female MLA after 44 years, since Jaya Narain became the first in 1977. It took a commonwealth gold medallist to become the second woman MLA of the constituency that is marred by women’s issues in terms of safety, fetching clean drinking water, etc. much like various other constituencies in the state. The results came in on Tuesday when Congress candidate Poonia defeated sitting BSP MLA Manoj Nyangali and the Lok Sabha MP from Churu, Ram Singh Kaswan of BJP.

While Poonia suffered defeat in the last election, this time she won by a healthy margin of 18,084 votes after receiving 70,020 votes. Poonia achieved fame through her sports career when she threw the disc to 61.51m to win a gold medal at the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010. She also finished sixth at the 2012 London Olympics with her best throw of 63.62m, coming in the fifth attempt.

On Joining Politics

It was about six to seven years ago when Poonia was training for Commonwealth Games and 2012 London Olympics that she felt that she should join politics. “Whenever I used to come back to my village in Rajgarh, I would realize that the people of the constituency need me as the place was only getting regressive and there was no growth. We would go across the country and around the world to participate in different tournaments and feel that Rajgarh district is very backward. I felt that if I get a chance to improve the situation of the area, then I will definitely do it.”

She stated a few issues prevalent in the area like farmers are in severe condition. “We lack proper water facility which predominantly affects the constituency’s farmers who have to only depend on rains for their water requirements. It leads to a worse financial condition of the farmers. Women’s safety is another big issue we see here. Not only do we aspire to have better law and order in the area but also control the people who propagate prejudices,” she said.

For five years since 2013, Poonia worked closely with people in her electorate. She said that she understood the issues people living in Rajgarh are facing and that’s how people trusted her and made her win.

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Why women should participate in politics

Talking about why women should participate in politics, she said, “In our country, women’s position is not at par with men. They feel uncomfortable taking part in politics but I feel that women should enter all fields. Today women of our country are winning Olympic medals, so women should equally participate in political decisions too. So we can set better role models for young girls.”

The ace discus thrower believes political parties don’t give better representation to women because “Parties need famous faces as candidates so they can solve people’s issues. Basically, public decides who will become their leader and they will trust so parties look for such faces that the public would trust.”

“Whenever I used to come back to my village in Rajgarh, I would realize that the people of the constituency need me as the place was only getting regressive and there was no growth. We would go across the country and around the world to participate in different tournaments and feel that Rajgarh district is very backward. I felt that if I get a chance to improve the situation of the area, then I will definitely do it.”

Poonia, who originally belongs to Haryana’s Agroha village in Hisar district, first came to Rajgarh in 2000 when she married athlete Virender Singh Poonia. She took her sports career seriously after marriage when her husband encouraged her and coached her. She became the first ever Indian woman to win a gold medal in track and field events of Commonwealth Games in 2012 in New Delhi. A Padma Shri awardee, Poonia along with her husband also worked with the North Western Railway, which she quit after joining Congress in 2013.

Talking about the transformation from sports to politics, she said that both require a lot of effort. “While both require effort, you play sports for yourself and the country but in politics, you put in efforts for the people. In politics, we work day and night to establish trust among people and work for them. In sports, we knew how much we trained and that would reap in victory but here we realize our efforts after the victory.”

Out of the total 199 seats in Rajasthan, Congress won a majority of 101 seats.

Picture credit- India TV

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