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The Unpretentious Leader Shreyasi Singh is following her father's footsteps and aiming to serve her constituency

By Deepa Vaidya

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A descendant of a royal family in Bihar, an Arjuna awardee and a politician, Shreyasi Singh, MLA, Jamui constituency, Bihar is all of 30 years and is playing all her roles with great elan. India's No.1 women's player in Double Trap shooting, gold medalist at the Commonwealth Games, Australia (2018), silver medalist at Commonwealth Games, Glasgow (2014), Singh has a legacy of both, rifle shooting and politics from her grandfather and parents.

Singh nurtured ambitions of becoming a politician much before she wanted to be a sportsperson.

Says the shooting champion, "I wanted to become a politician even before I wanted to become a sports person. I was inclined towards politics, because my father was a politician whom I saw working for the people, day in and day out with all his morals and principles intact. So, I was always greatly inspired by him and wanted to become like him. Also, I became a shooter, particularly because of my family as well."

Singh plunged into politics rather impulsively in 2020. The pandemic of 2020 made her active on SM and thus began interactions with the youth.

Explains Singh, "They helped me realise that a political change was required in the polity. They want a political youth to guide them in the future and a lot of my father's co-workers, sort of motivated me and obviously wanted me to step into active politics."

She also attributes this connect to her political victory over RJD's Vijay Prakash with a huge margin of over 41,000 votes in 2020, the love and affection due to her father and grandfather's popularity, and to her performance at national and international sporting events. This earned her the epithet, 'Bihar ki Beti' or 'Jamui ki Beti'.

Adds Singh, "Again, women were a big change that was required, because usually, politics is considered a male-dominant profession. But there are women voters in our country as well. So when they think that there is a woman representative coming, then they feel more connected."

She is working on building a women-only skill development center in Jamui, to make them self-reliant by bringing together all the women population that surrounds centrally-located Jamui and has adjoining borders with Jharkhand.

She is in two very diverse fields, with people and their expectations as common factors. When asked what is a bigger responsibility, performing on the field, winning medals or managing your constituency, says Singh, "I think they, they both are a priority, of course, different ones. I can't say one is more important than the other for sure. They both have their challenges and their ups and downs. I have been able to prioritise one over the other given the circumstances."

If there is any proof of grit, then Singh trains at Delhi in the absence of a shot gun range in Bihar.

She applies the learnings from both her areas of work. She says, "Sports teaches us how to lose and it is very important to take your lows or to take your losses in a challenging manner. Even though it's a hectic lifestyle in politics, it has taught me how to manage time very well. So it's become one of my greatest powers to try to manage time and that's how I have been training so far for the National Championships to selections, and thereafter the World Cup."

She is preparing for the forthcoming ISSF Shotgun World Cups to be held in Cyprus and Peru.

Singh has a simple mantra for success and for trolls too.

Says Singh, "Before becoming successful, it's important to become a nicer person. "Having said that, you do believe that hard work takes you a long way. I have learned this in sports also, and this is going to help me in politics as well. You know, fail, fail, fail until you succeed. And that's what hard work teaches us."

"I don't think about trolls at all. I just ignore them. I know why I stepped into politics and why I play a sport."

She has absolute clarity on what she is to do in the future, "There is no way that I am going to leave my constituents behind. So definitely, if there is a 51% advantage over 49%, that will be politics, for sure, because that is a promise I made to the 2,98,000 voters of Jamui, a promise that I made to Bihar. Having said that, I am quite comfortable with the way I am moving forward. And I think moving forward is going to be the same plan, time management, hectic travels for me, but making sure that I am not unavailable to the people of Jamui or that I am unavailable at the shooting range."

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