Chess, squash & kabaddi: The many loves of MPs

Pursuits outside politics

Kirron Kher

Some sculpt. Some rear dogs. A few others take time out for interests ranging from martial arts to musical instruments to movie scripts. Still others love to surprise youngsters with a not-in-use local dialect.

The newly elected Lok Sabha MPs boast a host of other sporting, literary and fun pursuits too, including kabaddi, swimming, chess and photography. Then there are others who love to just watch TV or catch up with friends to unwind.

BSP's Afzal Ansari, who represents Uttar Pradesh's Ghazipur, rears pedigree dogs and loves scenic getaways that offer scope for some wildlife photography.

Former Punjab deputy chief minister and Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal is considered to be a shrewd politician but not many know that the Ferozpur MP was once a winner of North Zone clay modelling competition. He still finds time to muddy his hands when not busy with politics.

Badal is not the lone sculptor in the new Lok Sabha. TRS' Dayakar Pasunoori, a fine arts graduate who represents Telangana's Warangal, is credited with building many statues of the Telugu Thalli idol. In spare time, he paints.

BJP's Rewa (Madhya Pradesh) MP Janardhan Mishra has an unusual pastime — he loves to interact with the younger generation and surprise them with words of local dialect (Bagheli), which are not in use now.

Outside his ministerial responsibilities, Karnataka's D V Sadananda Gowda loves to chat with family and friends. Many don't know that Gowda represented the Mysore University in kho-kho. Another minister from Karnataka, Suresh Angadi, likes socialising.

The cousins may not be on the same political page but both Congress president Rahul Gandhi and BJP MP Varun Gandhi are into chess big time.

Varun and TDP's Jayadev Galla also share a passion for squash, which is not so popular among other MPs, who are fans of cricket, football, volley ball, badminton and kabaddi among others.

BJP's actor-turned-MP Kirron Kher had represented her university, state and country while in badminton, while party colleague and minister Faggan Singh Kulaste was on university and state teams for not just one but three games — kabaddi, kho-kho and volley ball.

Kher, Kulaste and Gowda have an opponent in the Congress when it comes to representing university in games. Manish Tewari — who is among the front runners to be the Congress Lok Sabha leader in case Rahul Gandhi decides not to take up the post — was not just a participant but captained the Chandigarh and Punjab University teams during various national and inter-varsity swimming and water polo championships.

Shiv Sena MP Krupal Balaji Tumane enjoys 'kalaripayattu', a martial art form of Kerala, while none of the Kerala MPs are into it.

Trinamool Congress' Abhishek Banerjee, nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, likes to read biographies while BJP's Vadodara MP Ranjanben Bhatt devotes time for the 'Women's Club' she has been heading for the past 22 years.

BJP MP Virendra Kumar loves singing and playing the mouth organ, while JD(U)'s Baidyanath Prasad Mahto plays three musical instruments — harmonium, benzo and flute. Former minister Jayant Sinha lists one of his interests as movie scripts.

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