Dilip Kumar Tirkey, a Catholic who captained the Indian hockey team for seven years, was elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha from Odisha (formerly Orissa).
The 34-year-old sportsman was the first in the list of three candidates put up by the ruling Biju Janata Party. The opposition parties did not field any opponent for him.
The results were announced two days ago.
Tirkey today told ucanindia.in that he would work as a member of the upper house of parliament for the weaker sections of society, especially tribal and dalit people.
“My focus would be education and healthcare in rural areas. Of course, my priorities would be development of sports, particularly hockey,” said the Oraon tribal who comes from a rural tribal village in Odisha.
Tirkey also said he would promote peace and harmony in Odisha as the eastern India has been “reeling under sectarian violence for some time now.
“I would work with all communities irrespective of caste and creed,” he added.
Fr. Dibyasingh Parichha, who heads the legal cell of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar archdiocese, says Tirkey’s election is recognition of “a qualified and suitable face” from the tribal community.
Tirkey was born on November 25, 1977, in Sundargarh in northern Orissa, to Vincent Tirkey, a former Oriya hockey player, and Regina Tirkey.
His twin brothers Anoop and Ajit play hockey for the Indian Railways. Married to Meera, Tirkey has a 1-year-old son.
Tirkey has been working as the deputy manager of Air India in Bhubaneswar since 2006.
He was best known for his penalty corner hits and considered among the toughest defenders the world has seen in hockey.
India: Catholic churches across the state during sunday mass observed special prayers..