The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has offered former Team India captain Sourav Ganguly a party ticket to contest the general assembly elections.
Ganguly, who is in Mumbai, said he had not taken a call yet. Speculations were rife on Saturday that Ganguly would be appointed as the sports minister if he won the polls on a BJP ticket.
Varun Gandhi, BJP’s national general secretary and observer of the Bengal unit, said that party’s offer to Ganguly was being exaggerated by the media.
“We did have a conversation with him, but it was very general in nature. What is being made out of it is just speculation. Nothing concrete has come out yet,” he said.
Ganguly’s ex-teammate and cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar is already in the Rajya Sabha as a Congress-backed candidate. Mohammad Azharuddin and Navjot Singh Sidhu, two others with whom Ganguly has shared the dressing room in his cricket career, have joined politics. While Azharuddin is a Congress MP, Sidhu is a BJP parliamentarian.
“A proposal has gone to him, and Sourav Ganguly is considering it. We have yet to hear a yes or no from him,” said Rahul Sinha, BJP president of Bengal— Ganguly’s home state.
“Over the past three months, there have been media speculations that Ganguly might be joining the BJP. He has received an offer, but nothing concrete has emerged as yet,” a spokesperson of Ganguly told HT.
Ganguly is not known for his camaraderie with the political class. However, he was close to a few CPI(M) leaders, including Ashok Bhattacharya, former urban development minister of Bengal.
There are also rumours that Ganguly was offered a seat outside Bengal—either in Delhi or in Gujarat — for a ‘safe’ win.
It all started in October, when the former Indian captain visited Gandhi’s New Delhi residence.