New Delhi, Mar 22 : Former cricket star and left-handed opening legend Gautam Gambhir on Friday joined the BJP in presence of Union Ministers Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shankar Prasad and called the saffron outfit a 'fabulous platform' to serve India.
"I am sure I will live up their expectations," said Mr Gambhir on the occasion and also maintained that he will work to take the saffron party forward and make India a 'better place' to live in.
Welcoming him into the party fold, Mr Jaitley said Mr Gambhir's decision reflects the kind of expansion the saffron party has undergone in recent years.
Mr Jaitley also took a dig at a former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu - without however naming him and said - "Our earlier experience has been that a former cricket player has transformed into a Pakistan sympathiser; but at least Gambhir's 'itihas (history)' does not seem to be on that line".
Mr Sidhu, now a Punjab Minister and a prominent Congress leader, is also a proponent of India-Pakistan friendship campaign.
Before moving into the Congress, Mr Sidhu too was a BJP lawmaker from Amritsar in Punjab.
"We consider Gambhir's entry into BJP as a very important induction. I welcome him. His potential
and talent will be made use of in the party," Mr Jaitley said.
"The BJP will be a fabulous platform to do something really good work for the country....," said Mr Gambhir on the occasion.
"I am impressed by the works and vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi," he said adding, " I am thankful to the BJP for giving me the opportunity to do something special for the country".
Mr Gambhir is the only Indian and one of four international cricketers to have scored hundreds in five consecutive Test matches. He is also the only Indian batsman to have scored more than 300 runs in four consecutive Test series.
Also a recipient of Padma Shri award, Mr Gambhir was also conferred the Arjuna Award in 2008.
To a pointed question whether Mr Gambhir will be given a party ticket for contesting the fast approaching polls, Mr Jaitley said, BJP has an internal mechanism to decide about these.
"Let the Central Election Committee decide, now that he has joined the party, he will do what the party decides," said Mr Jaitley, who is also a member of BJP CEC.
There have been speculations for quite some time now that the former cricket star would be fielded by BJP to contest from New Delhi parliamentary constituency. (UNI)