Yesterday, The Telegraph had reported that Bhaichung's name figures in the voters' list of his home state of Sikkim and not that of Bengal. This should have made him ineligible to contest the Assembly elections in Bengal, according to the Handbook of Candidates published by the Election Commission of India.
Polling in the Kasba Assembly seat will take place on April 30 and the footballer's name can be added to the voters' list there on March 11, Election Commission sources in Calcutta said.
The former soccer player today submitted a letter handwritten by himself to the chief electoral officer of Sikkim in Gangtok, seeking the deletion of his name from the voters' list of Barfung Assembly segment in South district.
|Bhaichung Bhutia during the Trinamul meeting in |
Siliguri on Monday. Picture by Kundan Yolmo
He has also mentioned in the application that "I would be grateful if you can kindly withdraw my name from the voter list in Sikkim".
A senior official in the chief electoral officer's office in Gangtok said: "Bhutia came to submit the letter this morning. We received the letter and forwarded it to the (South) district collector who is also the district electoral officer."
Later in the afternoon, Raj Yadav, the district collector of South Sikkim, informed that he had received the application and deleted Bhaichung's name from the voters' list. A confirmation letter has been sent to the office of the state election department, he said.
"Since the process of rectifying mistakes, addition and deletion of names in the electoral roll is going on, Bhaichung Bhutia's name was deleted from the list today itself," Raj said.
The Telegraph report published on March 6
Bhaichung had said he had transposed his name from Sikkim to Calcutta. Transposition refers to the deletion of a name from one voter list and its inclusion in another. This is a compulsory duty for every voter who has been staying at a different address for over six months.
"In the case of parliamentary elections, a candidate only needs to be an elector from any part of India. If he is, he can contest from any constituency," a poll official had said on Saturday. "But in the case of Assembly elections, the candidate has to be a voter from the state concerned. He can then contest from any Assembly constituency in the state."
Bhaichung, who spoke to the media in Siliguri this evening after a meeting of Trinamul, iterated that his name was on the voters' list of Bengal, but refused to share details.
However, the South Sikkim district collector today said: "If he intends to transpose or shift his name to any other Assembly constituency, an intimation from the district collector concerned, where he wants his name to be shifted, has to reach my office. However, till date, we have not received any such intimation. The deletion was made on the basis of the request made by Bhaichung Bhutia," said Yadav.
In Siliguri, the ex-player said: "My name has been included in the voters' list of Bengal. I would like to tell you that my name has been shifted to Bengal. I don't want to give details. At the same time, I would like to make one point, that it is about the party. It is about the Trinamul Congress. It is about Mamata Banerjee. Today, we are speaking of candidates... whether I remain a candidate or not, Gautamda (Gautam Deb) remains a candidate or not...there will be a candidate of the Trinamul Congress here. We have to work for the Trinamul Congress here and we believe workers will work for the party and Mamata Banerjee."