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Ganguly not really Left out

Of late, the beleaguered former India captain seemed to be seeing only red.

india Updated: Feb 22, 2006 20:02 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

His proximity to West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya is well-known.

But on Wednesday the beleaguered former India captain Sourav Ganguly seemed to have come a step closer to the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) by participating in three foundation laying events.

Out of the national cricket squad, he is part of the foundation stone laying ceremonies of three projects in the north Bengal town of Siliguri from where state urban development minister and a sworn Ganguly fan Ashok Bhattacharya hails and fights elections.

Bhattacharya had boycotted the one-day international against South Africa at Eden Gardens last year after Ganguly was dropped from the team.

After the events, the former captain will be felicitated by the Siliguri Municipality and sub-divisional administrations headed by the CPI-M.

The projects comprise a business centre named after him, a flyover and a health centre.

The involvement of Ganguly in these functions and his felicitation at a time when he is facing a crisis on the field was criticised by opposition Trinamool Congress.

"It is very unfortunate that a famous cricketer and 'apolitical' person like Sourav Ganguly is participating in the events before the elections. He should instead concentrate on his game at this hour of crisis," Trinamool Congress' Darjeeling district leader Gautam Dev said.

The party's displeasure was rubbished by local CPI-M leader Jibesh Sarkar who said: "The image of Ganguly should be used not just for a party but for the success of Bengal and the country as a whole."

"It is wrong that we are reaping political benefits by using his image," he said.

Ganguly was on Monday included in the 16-member East Zone team for the Deodhar Trophy that begins later this month. Former India batsman Navjot Singh Sidhu on Tuesday said he regretted Ganguly's axe from the national squad when he was batting well.

Ganguly missed India's three ODI series in a row against Sri Lanka and South Africa at home last year and against Pakistan, which has just concluded in Pakistan.

First Published: Feb 22, 2006 19:21 IST