Kolkata: Soon after the BJP offered former India cricket captain Sourav Ganguly (pictured), party ticket to contest the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the West Bengal Congress unit chief too yesterday called on the cricketer at his residence here.
State Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya, however, described his meeting with Ganguly as a courtesy call, and refused to give it a political colour.
“The meeting does not carry any significant meaning, contrary to what is being reported by the media. What he will do is his decision. I have not given any kind of proposal (to him) regarding politics. It is a private meeting,” he said. However, political circles were agog with speculation that the Congress was keen to offer Ganguly a Rajya Sabha ticket, or candidacy for the Lok Sabha polls 2014. The 41-year-old Ganguly yesterday said he got a proposal from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), but had not yet decided anything in the matter.
“Yes, I have received a proposal, but am yet to decide anything. It’s a big decision, and not an easy one. I will have to sort out so many things,” he said.
Incidentally, a day earlier the former opener asserted that he has declined the BJP’s offer.
“I have declined it. I won’t be contesting the elections,” Ganguly said in Mumbai.
State BJP president Rahul Sinha on Saturday said party general secretary Varun Gandhi, who is in charge of the party’s affairs in West Bengal, during a meeting in Delhi made the offer to Ganguly to contest the Lok Sabha polls from a constituency of his choice.
West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress took a jibe at the Congress leader’s meet with Ganguly, and said it eroded the cricketer’s popularity.
“The Congress is now a spent force in the entire country, leave alone Bengal. I believe today’s meeting has eroded Ganguly’s popularity and appeal,” state Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee said.
Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Asok Bhattacharya described the BJP and Congress’s bid to woo Ganguly as a publicity gimmick. “Sourav has told me that he is not interested in joining politics. Being a cricketer he wants to serve the game,” said Bhattacharya, a minister during the erstwhile Left Front government and known for his proximity to the cricketer.
“These parties are just trying to encash his popularity, which is not right,” he said, adding his party has no plans to approach the cricketer with an offer to join politics.IANS