Kolkata: Iconic Mohun Bagan midfielder Bidesh Bose may have won his team many laurels but on Sunday winning the Assembly poll as a Trinamool Congress candidate from Uluberia Purba in his political debut will always remain his the “greatest moment”. In a constituency where Muslims comprise nearly 34 per cent of the electorate, Bose faced a stiff challenge from Abbasuddin Khan of Indian Secular Front and BJP’s Pratyush Mondal but the rookie politician stayed grounded and listened to his head coach (Mamata Banerjee) and assistant coach (Howrah district TMC president Pulak Roy) to score a winner.
“I never thought that I would score a goal on the political pitch. Full credit goes to my head coach (Didi) and assistant coach (Pulak Roy)… I just kept listening to their instructions and worked hard,” the iconic leftwinger of the 1970-80s told PTI. Bose won the Uluberia Purba seat defeating his nearest BJP rival Pratyush Mandal by 17,126 votes.
“When Didi first had offered me this seat in March, I didn’t know how to go about it, how do I live up to her reputation…Then when I personally went there, met the people and felt their problems, I realised that this is altogether a different pitch. It’s a completely different maidan. But it was just like another game,” the former Mohun Bagan captain said. “In football, we would strategise to beat other teams here also we work as a team and defeat other parties. We were spot on,” Bose, who made his political debut 34 years after retirement, said.
As a Mohun Bagan leftwinger, Bose had won 37 titles for the club including seven times Durand Cup and Calcutta Football League six times, but this victory would rank higher, he said. “Certainly it’s a lot more satisfying, difficult to express in words, it’s a special feeling. In football, I was fighting for the ball possession and here also it was a battle — to get the people’s mandate. So this was definitely more challenging and satisfying,” Bose said.
On the pitch, the legendary PK Banerjee was his head coach and guru and now Bose is grateful to have got the blessings from his political mentor Mamata Banerjee. “Didi always told me that I don’t need a leader but a party worker now I feel why she would say this. It’s a team work. It’s my good luck that I have her blessings. Then there’s also Pulak Roy who would give his time for the East constituency and I learnt the political nuances from him..
“I’m not a man of politics so I will play the game as my coach and assistant coach instruct. We have got good roads but what’s missing is good sanitation and drinking water. There’s a bit of conflict with this being a Panchayat area…
This will be my main priority at this moment.” Mamata Banerjee-led TMC on Sunday won a landslide victory in the West Bengal Assembly election. “We are not worried much about it. This landslide victory was made possible only because of Didi, so that one loss would not matter much. People love her and the verdict says it all,” Bose signed off.