Football star Bhaichung Bhutia announced his resignation from All India Trinamool Congress Party, however he has declined to comment on his affiliation with any other party. While speculations are rife on Bhaichung joining BJP or a party in his home state of Sikkim.
The soccer star tweeted in a post on Monday morning, “As of today I have officially resigned from the membership and all the official and political posts of All India Trinamool Congress party. I am no longer a member or associated with any political party in India,”.
Bhaichung quit professional football in 2011 and took a pot shot at politics. He joined Trinamool Congress in the year 2013 and was fielded from the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat as a TMC candidate against BJP’s SS Ahluwalia. He lost by a margin of 2 lakh votes and contested again in 2016 assembly polls from Siliguri against CPM’s Ashok Bhattacharya only to be defeated.
However despite his twin losses he enjoyed a comfortable and respectable status in the party as during his tenure he was appointed as the Chairman of North Bengal Board of Development of Sports and Games.
Some TMC leaders expressed relief at the soccer star’s resignation from the party. Most leaders were sceptical that the footballer will not be able to contribute much to the party. And now that he has resigned it’s confirmed that he won’t be dragged into politics anymore and the party will think twice before floating people from the political background.
Asked about Bhaichung’s resignation, Trinamul secretary general Partha Chatterjee said: “We cannot make comment on the basis of any tweet. So far, he has not informed the party about his decision.”
Political circles in Sikkim are abuzz with the words that Bhaichung might join some state political party which the footballer denied.
The Padma Shri winner had recently extended his support for a separate Gorkhaland and went on a conflict with the Trinamool Congress cadres.
Last year during the Darjeeling crisis the Gorkha community was highly critical on Mamata Banerjee’s handling of the Gorkhaland issue which tore apart the Gorkha community creating two factions of the GJM (Gorkha Janmukti Morcha), with separate ideologies, led by Bimal Gurung and Binay Tamang.
Even the Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling came down heavily on Mamata Banerjee’s high handedness on affairs of Darjeeling turmoil which disrupted peace in the region for 108 days, triggered by the implementation of Bengali as a compulsory language in district schools.
The BJP has welcomed the footballer’s decision to quit the TMC taking a jibe at the ruling party in West Bengal.”It’s a fantastic decision, we would love to have him in our ranks,” said West Bengal BJP Vice President Biswa Priya Roychowdhury.
According to sources, Bhaichung who hails from the Gorkha community could not find his niche in the Bengal politics and remained unrecognized by 8 lakh Gorkhas, who oppose the ruling TMC.
However there are implications that his resignation from TMC might bring him closer to the Gorkhas who are annoyed over their status in West Bengal and need a solid voice to represent their cause.
As of now the soccer star is keeping mum on his future political role as he says, “I can only say that I am not in politics now,”.