The Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday dismissed reports about former cricket captain Sourav Ganguly joining the party, but left scope for interpretation by showing ‘great respect and regards’ for the left-handed batsman from Kolkata.
Ganguly is considered a very popular figure in West Bengal and the BJP had made him an offer to join the party before the Lok Sabha polls in 2014, but he refused.
Speculation about Ganguly joining the BJP, ahead of the 2016 assembly polls, started doing the rounds after Harsh Goenka, chairman of RPG Enterprise, tweeted on Wednesday that he and a “very well known footballer” would soon join the BJP.
“There is no truth in the tweet...We have great respect and regard for the former captain of Indian cricket team. Few of our leaders also enjoy a good relationship with Mr Ganguly,” said BJP’s general secretary Sidharth Nath Singh.
A long-standing associate of Ganguly’s echoed the same: “If and when he joins, it will be announced.”
However, another BJP leader said he could be BJP’s ‘surprise’ in West Bengal, as former IPS officer Kiran Bedi was in Delhi.
The BJP is trying to make inroads in West Bengal by cashing in on the anti-incumbency wave against the Trinamool Congress.