Yuvraj’s father hopes to ride on son’s popularity

By Alkesh Sharma, IANS,

Panchkula (Haryana) : He is a veteran of 125 Punjabi films, a former fast bowler and father of India’s cricketing star Yuvraj Singh. Flanked by posters and cutouts of his celebrity son, Yograj Singh is seeking to make his foray into politics by contesting the Haryana assembly election.

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Singh, 51, is contesting the Oct 13 ballot on the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) ticket from the newly created Panchkula constituency, just outside Chandigarh. His chief opponent is the ruling Congress party.

“I am sure to give a tough fight to my opponents. And I have a strong conviction that I am going to win by a huge margin,” Yograj Singh told IANS as he campaigned at a slum colony here.

Yograj is expecting to draw some mileage from his son’s fan following.

The well-built Yograj, who claims that he pushed Yuvraj into cricket from his (Yuvraj’s) interest in roller-skating and coached him, says he is not sure if his son, who is out of the Indian cricket team owing to an injury, will campaign for him in Panchkula.

Said the father: “It is up to him and also depends on his schedule. I will not force anybody to campaign for me.” However, Yograj Singh flaunts his star son’s posters and huge cutouts in his office here.

At a recent election rally, Yograj said: “My son (Yuvraj) wondered what track I was taking (by joining politics). I am not a politician. I do things from the heart. I am contesting this election also from the heart.”

“I have entered this field with a true spirit of a sportsman and I have to win. I never think negative. I have all the abilities to change the face of politics. Now that I have entered this field, I am ready to work all day and night for the betterment of politics and my constituency.”

A contemporary of former Indian captain and legendary all-rounder Kapil Dev, Yograj played in one Test match and six one-day internationals for India during the Indian team’s tour of Australia in 1980.

From being a cricketer, actor in over 125 Punjabi films – mostly as a bad man – father of a celebrity cricketer, being a businessman and marrying twice – Yograj has done everything.

He has had his own share of controversies — getting involved in criminal cases ranging from cheating, criminal conspiracy, negligent driving and harbouring the main accused of the Jessica Lal murder case.

The Panchkula seat was earlier part of the Kalka constituency and represented by former deputy chief minister Chander Mohan, dropped last year from the cabinet over his love affair with a former government lawyer and ignored for the party ticket despite being a four-time legislator.

Yograj Singh will take on D.K. Bansal, a Congress legislator from Ambala Cantonment in the previous assembly.

Explaining his poll strategy, he said: “These days I am busy meeting residents of my constituency. I listen to their problems. You wait and watch; I assure you that every individual on this earth will feel proud of me.

“You look at my film career and cricket coaching; everywhere you will find a balance of planning and intelligence. In politics, I am going to use the same strategy.”

(Alkesh Sharma can be contacted at [email protected])