Ready to fight polls if BJP shows trust in me, says Rivaba Jadeja

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There are cricketers in India who later joined politics and fought elections. But it’s rare for any cricketer’s wife to do the same.

Rivaba Jadeja, the wife of ace India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, is one such name who is becoming popular in Gujarat, not just for being a star cricketer’s wife, but as a politician.

Rivaba had joined the BJP in 2019 and speculations are rife that she might contest the Assembly elections to be held at the end of this year on a saffron party ticket.

In a free-flowing chat with IANS, Rivaba said that while she is not doing social work just to get a ticket, she is ready to fight elections if the party shows trust in her.

“Before my marriage, I wanted to join the defence services. I also prepared for the civil services exam. I always wanted to make a personal contribution to the country. I even appeared in the exams to join the Indian Air Force. But then the marriage took place and life moved in another direction. So, I set up the Matrushakti Charitable Trust to fulfil my dream of serving the country through social service,” she said.

In the last two years, she visited 135 villages in Jamnagar district.

“We were often asked by the people from needy families that you are running the Matrushakti Trust and you are a BJP worker. If we need help, where can we come to meet you or how can we contact you? Where is your office. So instead of starting an office, we decided to reach out to the villagers.

“We have people in the urban areas who can contact us, but there are women in the rural areas who have household responsibilities and can’t reach out to us with their needs. So, I personally meet them and listen to their needs,” Rivaba said.

Acording to her, rural men know about the benefits of many government schemes as they go out and are in touch with the sarpanchs or other office-bearers. The same awareness is needed for women, because if a woman is aware, she will be able to awaken the future generations.

“So, we put more emphasis on working for our sisters. These people should know that if the government spends crores of rupees for us, what are the benefits we can get.

“In rural areas, women find it difficult to take advantage of schemes like Vahali Dikari (Dear Daughter) because they do not have a marriage certificate. The scheme provides financial assistance to needy parents till the marriage of two daughters. However, many women are aware of the widow pension scheme. You can get a sewing machine from the government; you can also do a beautician’s course. But they don’t even know about it. It is our duty to give women full information about these schemes and to try to help them if their work gets stuck anywhere,” she said.

She believes that women’s empowerment will be possible only if they become socially and economically self-sufficient.

“We provide financial assistance for children’s education through scholarships, and also for weddings. Women often neglect themselves, especially when it comes to health. A packet of sanitary pads is available at the Prime Minister’s generic drug store for just Rs 12 to 15. It comes with four good quality pads. I often jokingly tell women that if you can get a plate of ‘panipuri’ for Rs 20, you can take care of your health for a lower price.

“Every two days, I distribute about 500 sanitary napkins in the rural areas so that women can at least start using them. Women still use clothes today and suffer from many misconceptions. Their mindset has not changed. For this, I advise the sisters after discussing with the doctor, so that they do not get the wrong information,” she said.

She went on to say that in the beginning, people used to gather to see her, realising that cricketer Ravindra Jadeja’s wife has come.

“I am also proud to be known as his wife. But now the women recognise us for our work and we get very good response. So the motivation to work harder has only grown. Women in 40 to 50 villages have been given sewing machines, so that they can get employment by teaching others.

“I am probably the only wife of Indian cricketers who has attended her husband’s least number of matches. I get to spend less time with my husband. Sometimes I regret, but at the same time I am helping someone… The way my husband plays for the country, I work for the nation in another way.

“I have been fulfilling my duties as an active party worker in the BJP since 2019. I work to advance the ideology of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP to reach out to the people, and this applies to every party worker. I will continue this work in the future. I am not working just to get a ticket. But I am ready to fight elections if the party shows trust in me,” she concluded.

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