Krishna Punia: the latest athlete turned politician

Former prime minister H D Deve Gowda greets Krishna Punia after her victory in the Rajasthan Assembly elections. (Source: Facebook/KrishnaPoonia)
The discus thrower won by a healthy margin of 18,084 votes after receiving 7,0020 votes. It was her second attempt to get an entry into the state legislature. In 2013 she lost the same seat to BSP candidate. 
 
The 36-year-old athlete, who had hurled the disc to 61.51m to claim a gold medal at the Delhi Commonwealth Games, also holds an important place in Rajgarh town of Rajasthan. Detaching from her celebrity aura for the residents of her village, Punia is accessible and an ardent listener. "Whenever we go to her with our problems, she gives a patient ear. She would try to resolve our problem even when she was not an MLA," Shara Devi, sarpanch of the village said. 
 
Punia, known for her best throw of 63.62m at the Commonwealth Games told DH, "I have been working hard to understand issues of rural people. It was hard and a tough journey for me and was no less than getting a gold." 

Hopes high

Punia making it in the list of winning MLAs has raised the hopes of sports enthusiasts of seeing her as a state minister. Especially after Olympian Col Rajyavardhan Singh Rathod had successfully contested 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Jaipur Rural constituency and was offered independent charge of Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs along with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
 
Punia, who is a sportswoman at heart, aims to build synthetic tracks for running and residential facilities for athletes. "People here know me more as a social worker and politician. But I see girls getting inspired by me," Punia added. She believes her husband and coach Virender, who shaped her athletics career, also mentored her political career. Punia grew up in Hissar and took to discus seriously after her marriage to Virender, who was a hammer thrower.
 
Punia continues to hold the national record in women’s discus with a throw of 64.76 metres.

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Krishna Punia: the latest athlete turned politician

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