Better late than never. The West Bengal government, known for its penchant for kicking a ball in pastures green to the chagrin of non-playing agriculturalists, has a cunning plan this World Cup season.
To be organised by the Bengal police, the Left Front-government is planning to start a bona fide football tournament in ‘Maoist-infested’ Lalgarh, with youngsters from three Maoist-affected districts of the state participating. And that’s not all. The plan is to send the best player of the tournament to be trained by German club Bayern Munich in, you guessed it, Munich.
Since TV reality shows like Indian Idol, which have done their bit to bring youngsters from disaffected areas like Kashmir and the North-east into the mainstream, have not proved enticing enough for Bengal, this football tournament could do the trick to wean proto-Maoists away from the revolution.
Director General of Police Bhupinder Singh stated that these football matches involving youngsters from Maoist-dominated areas of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia will be essentially to “separate the common people from the ultras’ influence”. How this will manage to exclude young Maoist sympathisers with great football skills is yet to be worked out.
The best player will, according to plans, be sent by the state government, at its expense, to Germany. Before you start saying, “Mein Gott!” remember that Bayern Munich wanted to set up a football complex in Burdwan district some time ago.
Rather intriguingly though, Singh stated that “after the matches, the participants will be served a meal,” adding that “food is one of the reasons that took the youth towards the Maoists”. Yes, sauerkraut, schnitzel and wiener for the revolution with a little vintage Baader Meinhof beer on the side.