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Col Rajyavardhan Rathore (Retd.) served in army for 23 years [1990-2013]. He also represented the country in the Olympics sport of shooting. He won 25 international medals at various championships for Double Trap Shooting. He was the first Indian, post-independence, to win individual Silver Medal at Athens Olympics in 2004.
He was awarded Padma Shri, Ati Vishisth Seva Medal, Arjuna Award and Khel Ratna Award for his exceptional services to army and sports.
In 2013, Colonel took voluntary retirement from military to join politics. Later he was in inducted into the Bhartiya Janta Party.
Col Rathore was elected to 16th Lok Sabha from Jaipur (Rural) and sworn in as the Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting in November 2014. In September 2017, he was given additional charge of Minister of State (I/C) for Youth Affair and Sports. In May 2018, he became Minister of State (I/C) for Information & Broadcasting.
The Saffron party put its confidence once again on Mr. Rathore from Jaipur (Rural) Lok Sabha constituency. The contest for Jaipur (Rural) constituency for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls has taken an interesting turn with the Congress fielding Commonwealth gold medallist Krishna Poonia, a sitting MLA from Churu in Rajasthan.
While Rathore is an Olympic silver medallist and a two-time Commonwealth gold medallist in shooting, Poonia was a discus thrower.
With Poonia being a Jat, Congress hopes to polarise the voters on caste lines. This election might be a tough nut to crack for Rathore, who is a Rajput as Jats and Rajputs, who are fewer in number, do not generally vote for each other. Jats constitute almost 23% voters of the total population of Jaipur (Rural). However, Rajputs make up just 10% of the total voters.
Rathore’s candidature, a foregone conclusion, was made official in the first BJP list for the state, but Poonia’s name for the constituency came as a surprise, the announcement being made late on Monday night.
Both started their political careers in 2013. Rathore won this LS seat riding the Narendra Modi wave in 2014. Poonia lost the December 2013 assembly election. In 2014, Rathore, a Rajput, had thrashed Congress veteran C P Joshi by over three lakh votes.
It’s a high profile contest between two sportsperson who have given us many moments to feel proud. That’s why everybody is eyeing to this battle. The media dubbed it as an “Olympians’ Battle.”
But five years on, the scenario is quite different. Poonia is now a sitting MLA from Sadulpur with a giant-killer tag. She defeated BSP MLA Manoj Nyangli and BJP veteran Ram Singh Kaswan in the 2018 assembly polls.