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Bhaichung Bhutia Launches Counter-Attack, Says Pawan Chamling is 'Ignorant' About Sports

In what seems to be a common front for both political rivals, football has taken centre stage in Sikkim politics. The two opponents will face each other in the upcoming 2019 assembly elections.

Karishma Hasnat | News18

Updated:June 9, 2018, 10:38 AM IST
Bhaichung Bhutia Launches Counter-Attack, Says Pawan Chamling is 'Ignorant' About Sports
Bhaichung's party, HSP, has decided to field candidates from all the 32 assembly seats and lone Lok Sabha constituency in Sikkim.

Sikkim: A day after Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling accused former Indian football captain Bhaichung Bhutia of ignoring young footballers of the state, the latter swiftly sought a counter attack, claiming the CM is ‘ignorant’ about professional sports.

“The statements from the Chief Minister show that he is ignorant about professional sports. In 25 years, he has done nothing to boost sports in Sikkim. He said I played only for money, but he doesn’t know that all sportspersons play for fees, and that per se is professionalism. Messi is from Argentina, but plays for Barcelona FC of Spain. Sunil Chettri is from Delhi, but is playing in Bengaluru FC. Chamling has no idea about sports,” said Bhaichung.

The senior vice president of ‘Hamro Sikkim Party’ (HSP) also sought credit for having recommended many footballers from Sikkim to play for clubs outside the state.

“Chamling said that I did not recommend any footballer from Sikkim to play in Kolkata clubs. He is ignorant of the fact that United Sikkim FC and I have recommended many footballers from Sikkim for clubs outside the state. They went for trials, and some of them even got to play for big clubs. Some of them are now doing quite well and playing professional football,” remarked Bhaichung.

In what seems to be a common front for both political rivals, football has taken centrestage in Sikkim politics. The two political opponents will face each other in the upcoming 2019 Assembly elections.

On Tuesday, Chief Minister Chamling, while addressing the ongoing Jansamparka Abhiyan tour in East Sikkim, ridiculed the footballer-turned-politician by saying he can no longer play football because of his age.

He even called his youngest political opponent a ‘hired player of New Delhi’.

Bhaichung chose to respond vociferously by reminding Chamling that the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) is a part of the Northeast Democratic Alliance (NEDA) and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre.

“Chamling is growing old. At 67, it seems he is losing his memory. Has he forgotten that his party SDF is a part of NDA and the NEDA formed under BJP? He has been only bowing down to Delhi and has failed to raise the issues pertinent to Sikkim,” said Bhaichung.

Talking about ‘monarchy’, Bhaichung stated that Chamling behaves like ‘a king’. He further outlined that the prime concern of HSP would be to overthrow the country’s longest serving Chief Minister and the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF).

“For 25 years, he has ignored his cabinet colleagues and office bearers, and has not allowed any leader to come forward. He himself behaves like a king, and compares me to Chogyal monarchy rule. But let me tell him, I am here to abolish his monarchy,” said Bhaichung Bhutia.

Ahead of polls, the newest entrant ‘Hamro Sikkim Party’ is gearing up to garner voter support in 32 constituencies of the state.

Bhaichung has been seen visiting various parts of Sikkim, carefully planning and executing his poll strategies.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister has recently been taking a keen interest in promoting football.

On ‘Statehood Day’ on May 16, Chamling announced an annual grant of Rs 12 lakh for all the A-list Sikkim sports clubs and Rs 6 lakh to B-list clubs.

Soon after Bhaichung announced his decision in New Delhi to launch a political party, Chamling reached out to the top footballers from Sikkim.

He met ISL players and members of Indian football team Nirmal Chettri, Robin Gurung, Sanju Pradhan and FIFA Under-17 World Cup player Komal Thatal.

A month-long ward level football tournament is currently underway in West Sikkim.

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