Bhutia on the ball in the political field | india | Hindustan Times
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Bhutia on the ball in the political field

Former captain of India’s football team Baichung Bhutia, who he is ­contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha election on a Trinamool Congress ticket, says he will use his new position to promote the game, but ­development of his ­constituency will be his first priority.

india Updated: Apr 12, 2014 09:11 IST
Dibyojyoti Baksi
Baichung Bhutia

Baichung-Bhutia-addresses-a-gathering-of-Lepcha-tribal-communities-at-the-Mela-Ground-in-Kalimpong-on-Thursday-Somshuvra-Laha-HT

The former captain of India’s football team, Baichung Bhutia, may have retired from the sport, but his interest in promoting the game is intact. In fact, now that he is ­contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha election on a Trinamool Congress ticket from Darjeeling, he says he will use his new position to promote the game, but ­development of his ­constituency will be his first priority. (Excerpts from an interview.)

How do you plan to use your experience as a sportsperson in the field of politics?

I want to apply all that I have learnt from football, in ­politics. My career taught me the importance of sincerity, hard work, dedication and honesty, and that’s what I want to bring into politics.

Football is big in West Bengal. Do you plan to promote the sport further?

Absolutely; before I got into politics, and even after my retirement, I was constantly involved in the sport. There are 15 Baichung Bhutia Football Schools ­running at the grassroots. I also started the United Sikkim Football Club, and, in a year-and-a-half, it became the top football club in India. Now that I’ve entered politics, I will push it further. I will try, in whatever way possible, to make the sport much ­bigger.

Are you going to own a football team as well?

I have associated myself with a consortium to bid for one. Right now, it’s at a very early stage.

Baichung Bhutia addresses a gathering of Lepcha tribal communities at the Mela Ground in Kalimpong on Thursday. (Somshuvra Laha/HT)

Bollywood stars such as Ranbir Kapoor and Abhishek Bachchan have regularly promoted your football schools. Do you plan to take such associations forward?

Ranbir has helped us a lot by becoming the goodwill ambassador, and Abhishek has also helped the club in some way or the other. Rahul Bose, too, has played a match in Sikkim. There has always been great support from Bollywood, and I am thankful to them for that.

If you are elected, what is the first thing you are going to do?

I am going to bring development and peace to the hills.

Baichung Bhutia addresses a gathering of Lepcha tribal communities at the Mela Ground in Kalimpong on Thursday. (Somshuvra Laha/HT)