New Delhi: In a move that is in continuation with BJP's nationalist image, the party welcomed Major Poonia into the fold on Saturday. He joined BJP in the presence of BJP general secretary JP Nadda and senior leader Ram Lal. Poonia is an army veteran and sportsman of international calibre. The move comes just a day after former cricketer Gautam Gambhir joined BJP, amid much fanfare.

Who is Major Surendra Poonia?

Major Surendra Poonia is the first Indian athlete with the rare distinction of having won medals in power-lifting and athletic events in four consecutive world championships. He has represented India in Croatia, Spain, Ireland, and Turkey in 5 World Championships and has won 27 medals out of which 10 are gold.

He is also a former Special Forces officer of the Indian Army and founder of Soldierathon marathon. He was commissioned into the Army Medical Corps in August 2001. He has served with The President's Bodyguard at Rashtrapati Bhawan, Special Forces and the United Nation's peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

For those who don't know, he was previously associated with the Aam Admi Party for a brief period. He also contested in the 2014 parliamentary election from Sikar Lok Sabha of Rajasthan. He resigned from the Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) in 2015 just before Delhi assembly polls due to ideological differences with Arvind Kejriwal.

In a letter addressed to Kejriwal, Poonia had alleged that AAP had veered away from its original ethos. Poonia in his letter had stated that he could not support a political outfit that was compromising the country's security.

On January 26, 2012, he was felicitated with the 'Vishisht Seva Medal' by the President of India for his 'Distinguished Service of an Exceptional Order' in the field of sports. He is also a Limca book of records, the record holder for most international sports medals won by an Indian doctor. Yes, if you didn't know, he is a doctor as well.