TMC claims to be in the dark about Mr Bhutia’s decision.
Kolkata: In a surprising move, former Indian football team captain Bhaichung Bhutia on Monday quit the Trinamul Congress, a year before the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.
Announcing his decision on Twitter in the morning, he said, “As of today I have officially resigned from the membership and all the official and political posts of All-India Trinamul Congress party. I am no longer a member or associated with any political party in India. #politics.”
The Trinamul claimed to be in the dark about Mr Bhutia’s decision.
Although he was not among the regular faces in key party meetings of the Trinamul, Mr Bhutia who is originally from Sikkim earned the party’s anguish after he expressed his support for Gorkhal during the peak of the agitation last years in Darjeeling. He was recently removed from the board of members of a panel on transport in Darjeeling after the Trinamul suspected that he may resign from the party. According to sources, the BJP is likely to rope him in for the crucial Darjeeling constituency in view of the Lok Sabha Elections next year. Sharing his photo with Mr Bhaichung on twitter, Union minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju said, “Football icon & former Indian captain Bhaichung Bhutia’s resignation from TMC was expected. He told me he has high regards for Mamata Banerjee but unable to cope with the situation. He desires to do more for Football & Sikkim. My best wishes to Bhaichung for his future endeavour.”
Mr Bhaichung’s decision was instantly welcomed by the members of the Gorkha community in the hills who also expressed their satisfaction. Reacting to his tweet, Dipendra Dipzo Khati said, “Good decision. Thanks. Welcome home. You cannot work with people (#MamataBanerjee) who block food for your family. Good wishes.” Another follower of the famous footballer, Nabin Pradhan replied to his tweet, “Great decision. You cannot work with @MamataOfficial she cut off food supplies and ignited fire to our #Gorkha families. Now please work towards the betterment of our people. Welcome back.”
Tarun, a follower of Mr Bhaichung, commented, “He shouldn’t have joined #TMC anyway. Had he contested on any other party’s ticket, he would’ve won from #Darjeeling hands down.” Asked about Mr Bhaichung’s decision Trinamul secretary general Partha Chatterjee claimed, “We do not know anything on Bhaichung. He has announced it on Twitter. So I do not know about him.”
Referring Mr Rijiju’s post Mr Chatterjee added, “I do not know who congratulated whom for what: for playing well or for coaching or for donning the role of a good commentator. So I would not comment on it. Such towering personalities do not come to politics from their own fields to involve themselves in politics. Many such come. I would not be able to comment till I would know anything or he would inform the party.” Bhaichung joined the Trinamool in 2013.
Next year, he was fielded by the ruling party at Darjeeling constituency in the Lok Sabha Elections with an eye on the Gorkha community’s votebank. Bhaichung however lost over a huge margin to BJP candidate S.S. Ahluwalia who was supported by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
In 2016, the Trinamul again made Bhaichung it’s candidate for Siliguri constituency in the Assembly Elections. He however lost, this time to Asok Bhattacharjee of the CPI(M) by a big margin.