By Abhishek Hore
(Eds: A PTI EXCLUSIVE)
New Delhi, Oct 9 (PTI) The range will make way for rallies in Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning shooter Shreyasi Singh's life as she gears up for the electoral battle in Bihar, aiming to restore an average Bihari's faith in the state so that there is an end to the "exodus".
While she calls that a "larger project", education is also a priority for the 29-year-old Asian Games bronze-medallist, who has joined the BJP and will contest the October 28 to November 7 assembly elections from the Jamui constituency.
BJP and the Janta Dal United make the ruling alliance in the state right now.
"Why should Biharis leave Bihar and live like second-class citizens elsewhere. That's not good, that's not right," said Singh in an interview with PTI on Friday.
"When you talk about politics, it has to be with development in mind, not just infrastructure but my vision is multi-dimensional development.
"Why don't we create enough job opportunities in Bihar so that our people can live with dignity, with their families?" she asked.
During the COVID-19 forced lockdown, Bihar endured massive reverse migration and special trains were run to facilitate people's return after their journeys on foot outraged the country.
Singh, a reigning national champion in the double trap event, said she wants to be the face of Prime Minister's Atmanirbhar (self-sufficient) initiative in Bihar.
The shooter, who is the daughter of former union minister late Digvijay Singh, hopes to play a part in creating industrial capabilities and employment opportunities in her state to ensure that citizens stop looking for avenues outside.
Singh, a silver medallist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, said given her family's background, the entry into politics was waiting to happen.
"I have always been politically inclined. I have been campaigning for my parents since 2009. My father contested the Lok Sabha elections, then in 2010 for my mother's by-election after my father's demise and also in 2014 and 2014 2019," she recalled.
How did her decision come about? She said she was motivated by the manner in which people started to share their problems with her on social media during the COVID-19-forced lockdown.
"During the lockdown, everyone became socially active, many youth of Bihar started engaging with me and raising their concerns.
"There has been progress but I think there is still lots of scope for development. I always thought I will let the janta decide when should I enter politics.
"I felt people of Bihar telling me that I should walk in my father's shoes. I was also approached in 2019 for Lok Sabha elections but my priorities were different then," she said.
However, Singh said she will continue her career in shooting and will train whenever time and opportunity permits.
"I will continue my shooting, try and devote as much time as possible while also working for my constituency. Shooting is one of the reasons I did not try Lok Sabha elections. The MLA's constituency is much smaller than that of an MP."
She said Bihar has made progress in the field of education overall but not when it comes to girls.
"In education sector, the literacy rate has gone up but more girls are dropping out of school. This has also gone up and needs to be worked out," she said.
"Sports and culture, arts will also be my focus. There is very rich talent in the state and all I have to do is give them a platform and support them."
Singh said the incumbent NDA government has done lots of work on many fronts during its tenure.
"The NDA government has done a lot of work, there are many schemes that are already on paper and I want to implement them. Being a sportsperson, my priority is sports too and I have their interests in mind.
She is inspired by her parents who, she said, have done a lot for their constituency in Jamui.
"My father and mother have been in politics, they always wanted to serve their constituency, and I wish to take their plans forward," signed off a confident Singh. PTI AH PM