Chandigarh: Former Indian Hockey Captain Pargat Singh has taken the plunge into active politics, with ruling Shiromani Akali Dal fielding him from the Jalandhar Cantt seat for the January 30 Punjab Assembly polls.
His name figured in the list of eight other candidates which the SAD announced today in the fifth list of the party nominees for the upcoming polls.
Pargat, initially reluctant to contest, candidly admitted that the man who prompted him to join politics was SAD chief and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who also holds the Sports portfolio.
"Yes, he is the one behind my decision to enter the electoral fray," the Arjuna awardee told reporters.
Pargat, who in his capacity as Director of Punjab Sports Department, had been actively involved with Sukhbir and was also instrumental in holding a successful World Cup Kabaddi tournament in November last year.
On other factors that led him to jump into the poll fray, Pargat said, "Look, the basic idea is the urge to do something for the people, especially youths of Punjab, many of whom are into drug habit. Through sports, I think we can motivate our youth and channelise their energies into something positive."
Asked about his poll plank, he said, "Ultimately you have to be a good human being and only then people will accept you. People know that in sports everything is on a level playing field and things like religion, caste don`t matter."
Pargat had captained the Indian hockey team in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Jalandhar Cantt has been transformed into an urban seat after the delimitation. The seat has traditionally remained a Congress stronghold, but in 2007 Assembly polls, it was won by SAD.