Showing posts with label Bhaichung Bhutia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bhaichung Bhutia. Show all posts

Bhaichung Bhutia Treated like outsider in TMC

1:17 PM
RAJEEV RAVIDAS-Telegraph

Gangtok: Former Indian soccer star Bhaichung Bhutia has broken his silence on his resignation from Trinamul last month, accusing a section of party leaders of treating him like an "outsider" while signalling a political career in home state Sikkim.

"Since I was an outsider (in Bengal), I was opposed not just by the public but even by people in my own party," Bhaichung told The Telegraph on Wednesday, weeks after he had announced his resignation through a tweet.

Trinamul leaders declined comment but sources in the party claimed Bhaichung was trying to cosy up to the BJP to start his innings in Sikkim, where he is now on a Yuva Yatra (youth march) with some friends "to understand the ground reality".
Bhaichung TMC

"All that we get to hear is not reflected on the ground. There are good and bad things happening. We want to see the place, meet people and know the reality," Bhaichung said. Bhaichung said he would take a call on formally joining Sikkim politics before Assembly elections that would coincide with Lok Sabha polls next year. But options are limited for Bhaichung in his home state, where the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front is a member of the North-East Democratic Alliance, formed as a part of the BJP's "Congress-Mukt Northeast".

"People like Bhaichung, who make lateral entry into politics, normally join the ruling party... It is sad that he is complaining about Trinamul. The party gave him a lot of respect," said a Trinamul leader.

Trinamul nominated Bhaichung from the Darjeeling parliamentary seat in 2014 but he lost to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha-backed BJP candidate S.S. Ahluwalia. Mamata Banerjee fielded him against CPM veteran Asok Bhattacharya in Siliguri in the 2016 Assembly polls, but he lost. Later, In June 2016, Bhaichung was made chairman of the North Bengal Board for Development of Sports.

"Bhaichung, was not very visible in Siliguri since the end of 2016. Finally, in February this year, he walked out of the party," said a Trinamul source.

On Wednesday, Bhaichung said "the lessons he learnt in Bengal" would hold him in good stead. Unlike in Bengal, where he was "thrown down from the top", he said he would work his way up from the bottom in his home state.

Bhaichung Bhutia inaugurates sports development office for north Bengal, push for cricket

11:21 AM
Baichung inaugurates sports development office for north Bengal

Writes Prashant Acharya for EOI
SILIGURI 4 Jul 2016 Former footballer Baichung Bhutia today inaugurated the office of the North Bengal Board for Development of Sports and Games (NBBDSG) at the Kanchenjunga Stadium for the all-round development of games and sports in the region.

"The board will work for the development of sports and games in the seven district of north Bengal. Besides promoting football and other games, the board is working hard to bring IPL cricket league to Siliguri. But as the existing size of the stadium is small, we are planning to develop the infrastructure with the support of Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB). I have already discussed the matter with CAB president Sourav Ganguly. The names of the board members have not been announced yet; hence work and necessary procedures will start after the formation of the board," he informed.

When he contested the state Assembly polls as a candidate from Siliguri, Baichung had said his main focus would be to develop sports and games in the region. He had said, "I will change the entire picture of Siliguri within a year and promote sports and games, especially football, by developing a number of training centres."
Bhaichung Bhutia
Bhaichung Bhutia
The decision to open an office was after an announcement by chief minister Mamata Banerjee during her recent visit in Siliguri. She had announced the names of Baichung as chairman, table tennis player Mantu Ghosh as vice-chairman and GNLF chief Mann Ghisingh as board member. However, Ghosh and Ghisingh were not present at the inaugural function.

On the other news article published on Telegraph, Bhaichung push for cricket - Bhaichung Bhutia, the chairman of North Bengal Board for Development of Sports and Games, today said he would speak to Sourav Ganguly, the president of the Cricket Association of Bengal, on holding IPL matches at the Kanchenjungha Stadium here.

Bhutia, who inaugurated the sports board's office at the stadium today, also said he would try to bring Indian Super League football matches to the ground.

"I will talk to Sourav Ganguly so that we can get IPL cricket matches at Kanchenjungha stadium. We have a good stadium that can host big cricket and football matches," said Bhutia.

Sources said the former national soccer team captain had already spoken to the president of the CAB in this regard.

"Ganguly has suggested that the existing infrastructure of the stadium be upgraded as the size of the ground is not big enough to host IPL matches," said a source.

However, the All India Football Federation has already marked the stadium as one where only soccer matches could be hosted. 

Bhaichung might become Darjeeling District TMC president

11:11 AM
TMC
Siliguri, June 17: Mamata Banerjee is likely to announce the new president of the Darjeeling Trinamul district committee in Calcutta tomorrow and ex-footballer Bhaichung Bhutia and Pratul Chakraborty are being considered for the post, sources in the organisation said.

The chief minister, said the sources, wanted the replacement of Ranjan Sarkar, the current president of the party in Darjeeling, as Trinamul had failed in three consecutive elections in the district in one year. The defeat of Trinamul in the Siliguri municipal and mahakuma parishad polls and the Assembly elections has been attributed to factionalism in the party.

"Tomorrow, a meeting has been convened by the party at Netaji Indoor Stadium in Calcutta where leaders from different districts will be present. Our party chief Mamata Banerjee and other frontline leaders will be at the meeting. We can almost confirm that the name of the new Darjeeling district president will be announced tomorrow. The names of Bhaichung Bhutia and Pratul Chakraborty are making the rounds," a Siliguri Trinamul leader, who didn't want to be named, said over the phone from Calcutta today.
West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC Supremo Mamata Banerjee with former Soccer star Baichung Bhutia
West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC Supremo Mamata Banerjee with former
 Soccer star Baichung Bhutia - file photo
Another senior leader said Bhaichung might be made the working president of Trinamul in the district. "Bhaichung has never made it to district and state committees. There is a chance that Pratul Chakraborty will be the new president, while Bhaichung will be made the working president of Darjeeling district. It can be an effective arrangement as Bhaichung can try to bring all lobbies in the party together and end factionalism, while Pratulda, who has good acceptability, can monitor from the top," said the leader.

There are also speculations that Bhaichung will be appointed as the chairman of the Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority.

Bhaichung had lost to the CPM's Asok Bhattacharya in Siliguri in the Assembly polls. Chakraborty had held the post of the district president before Gautam Deb.

Following the debacle Trinamul faced in the municipal and mahakuma parishad polls last year, minister Gautam Deb was removed as the Trinamul district chief in November. He was replaced with Sarkar, who was the district Trinamul Youth president then.

But even after Sarkar, who is also a municipal councillor in Siliguri, became the president, Trinamul couldn't win any of the six Assembly seats in the district.

"Mamata is completely disappointed over the performance of district leaders who are busy fighting among themselves. It is because of infighting that Gautam Deb was not allowed to contest the Siliguri civic polls in 2015. There is no chance that Mamata or any other state leader will seek opinion from the Darjeeling district leaders before finalising the name of the district president," said a Trinamul insider.

Telegraph


How 'coach' Mamata has made it tough for Bhaichung Bhutia to score a goal

9:25 AM
TMC
Writes: Priyata Brajabasi [for Catch News]

Former Indian football captain Bhaichung Bhutia is fighting on a Trinamool Congress ticket in the on-going West Bengal Assembly elections from Siliguri. The football icon is taking on veteran CPI(M) leader Ashok Bhattarcharya who is four-time MLA from the same constituency and is currently the mayor of Siliguri.

The Sikkimese player is a popular candidate who is contesting from West Bengal for the second time, the first time being from Darjeeling in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections where he lost to BJP's SS Ahluwalia by 196,795 votes.

His immense popularity in Bengal may not be enough to earn him an assembly seat from the constituency. The party’s decision to field him from Siliguri was a surprise for many including Bhaichung himself.

In a conversation with Catch in Siliguri Bhaichung said, “When I have decided to join the TMC, I have to listen to the head of the party. It’s the leader that decides who should contest and from where. In football too the coach decides where I play, when I play and whether I am fit enough to play. I may or may not be happy about the decision but I have to listen to the leader. Didi wanted me to fight from Siliguri. But it’s not like I was dying to contest from here.”
Ashok Bhattarcharya
Ashok Bhattarcharya
Many feel Mamata Banerjee’s decision is almost a free pass for the CPI(M) in the area. Political commentator Partha Pratim Biswas feels this was a bad decision on Mamata’s part. “We love Bhaichung Bhutia, the footballer, but we don’t think that he is experienced enough as a politician, especially in front of Ashok Bhattarcharya who has won from Siliguri multiple times. He should have contested from an area where this opponent wasn’t as experienced or well liked.”

CPI(M) heavyweight Ashok Bhattarcharya is very confident about his chances of winning. Speaking to Catch News in Siliguri he said, “Bhaichung was a very good footballer but he is not a very good politician. He doesn’t know Siliguri or its people and they do not know him either. If it were a clash between two footballers, he would have won. But it’s a political battle and I don’t think he has enough experience to win.”

However, Ashok Bhattarcharya was defeated in the previous assembly elections by TMC’s Rudra Nath Bhattacharya. “There was a TMC wave in 2011, people wanted a change. So I was defeated. But after seeing Mamata’s fascist rule in the state and the various corruption charges against TMC, they will see the Left as a better bet”.

What works in Bhaichung's favour
However, Bhaichung’s potential as a youth leader cannot be written off.

Shyam Roy, an engineering student in North Bengal University feels that Bhaichung Bhutia is exactly what Siliguri needs. “Siliguri has immense potential to be one of the biggest commercial cities in the state as well as the country. It can be a sports city as well given the sportsmen and sports enthusiasts in the region. Siliguri requires a leader with fresh and modern ideas. Bhaichung he can bring that to Siliguri, something other leaders cannot offer. He deserves a chance.”

Bhaichung’s decision to contest from West Bengal despite being a Sikkimese stems from his long association with the state. “I have lived in Kolkata for 25 years. I have played for Kolkata based clubs all my life. I left Sikkim when I was 15. I feel like I am from Bengal and people have accepted me as their own. This is why when I got an offer from Mamata Banerjee to contest from Darjeeling in 2014 Lok Sabha elections and now again, I accepted the opportunity.”

His association with TMC, he says, happened by chance. “I was always interested in politics even during my football days. I always thought I would join politics eventually but the timing was something I wasn’t too sure about. When Mamata Banerjee approached me, I was surprised but I took it up the challenge. Had I been approached by a party in Delhi or Sikkim or even Manipur I may have joined if I felt it was right”.

Gorkhaland question
As Siliguri comes under the Darjeeling district, the Gorkhaland issue is crucial here. The Gorkhali population in Siliguri is about 40%.

Bhutia is very categorical that he would be very happy if Gorkhaland is formed. This, in spite of the fact that Mamata Banerjee has clearly stated that she will not allow the division of the state.

“It is not as if the TMC candidates in the hills are against Gorkhaland. They have sacrificed their entire lives for the people of the hills and for Gorkhaland. But they have realised that development in the hills is more important than separation,” Bhutia said.

He further accused the BJP of double standards.
“People have realised that the party at the Centre is not on board; the BJP MP from Darjeeling hasn’t raised the issue of Gorkhaland in Parliament despite winning the seat on an appeal for Gorkhaland. It is not just Mamata or the state government that is against the movement, the Centre is as well,” Bhutia added.

Mamata Banerjee’s move to bring ex-GJM leader and sitting MLA Harkha Bahadur Chettri into the TMC fold has pushed the GJM and the Left parties closer. Ashok Bhattarcharya announced last month that the Left would not field candidates in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong.

While speaking to Catch News, Ashok Bhattarcharya said, “We are not supporting the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) nor are we seeking support from them. But both the Left and the GJM are fighting against TMC. We are weak in the hills, and we don't want division of anti-TMC votes. We will welcome anyone who defeats the TMC”

Left leaders have encouraged their supporters and workers in the hills to vote for the GJM without lending official support to the party. This means that the Left and the BJP, which is an ally of the GJM, are on the same side in the hills.

The Left Front however has openly opposed the GJM’s appeal for Gorkhaland.

Tough competition for Bhaichung
Despite being a celebrity candidate, Bhaichung has a difficult road ahead of him. “You think I achieved everything I did in football, easily? Nothing in life comes easy. Yes Ashok Bhattarcharya has won the seat 4 times and he has been a state minister too. It will be a tough fight but I think I am better prepared, certainly more than I was last time around. We are more organised. My chances seem good.”

Via: Catch News, Originally posted in: http://bit.ly/23qxdV2

Mamata to visit Siliguri again to campaign for Baichung

11:18 AM
TMC
Writes: PRASHANT ACHARYA

Siliguri, 24 Mar 2016: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee is slated to visit Siliguri on April 10 to launch a fresh campaign in support of Baichung Bhutia, the Trinamool Congress candidate from Siliguri.

Party sources said the TMC chief will put in every effort to outdo CPM candidate, Ashok Bhattacharya. The chief minister was in Siliguri only last week to participate in a rally from Darjeeling More to Hasmi Chowk in support of Baichung.

And according to Baichung, the TMC chief plans to campaign for him on April 10 and address a public gathering at the Suryanagar playground. It will be her first public meeting in Siliguri for the Assembly election.
Mamata to visit Siliguri again to campaign for Baichung

Meanwhile, Baichung has started preparations of his own to make the April 10 meeting a success. He is working hard and campaigning from early in the mornings to late in the evenings in every corner of Siliguri. He says he is borrowing a page from football to his poll strategy and his coach, Mamata Banerjee, will provide every possible support to score a goal this time around.

Via: The Eco of India


Bhaichung Bhutia seeks transfer of 'voter id' to Kolkata from Sikkim

10:06 AM
March 7: Former footballer Bhaichung Bhutia, who has been fielded as the Trinamul Congress candidate in the Siliguri Assembly seat, today got his name deleted from the voters' list in Sikkim, and sought the transfer of his "voter ID" to Kasba constituency in Calcutta.

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 seeks transfer of 'voter id' to Kolkata from Sikkim
Bhaichung Bhutia during the Trinamul meeting in
Siliguri on Monday. Picture by Kundan Yolmo
"This is to inform you that I am hereby surrendering my voter ID from Sanganath, Barfung Constituency, Sikkim. I am seeking to transfer my voter ID to 149, Kasba Constituency, Kolkata, West Bengal..." reads the application.

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."

Telegraph


Bhaichung Bhutia ineligible to contest Assembly elections in Bengal

2:26 PM
Siliguri, March 5: Former footballer Bhaichung Bhutia, announced as Trinamul candidate from the Siliguri Assembly seat yesterday, figures on the voter list of his home state of Sikkim and not that of Bengal.

This should make him ineligible to contest Assembly elections in Bengal, according to the Handbook of Candidates published by the Election Commission of India.

Bhaichung told this newspaper, during a phone conversation that got truncated midway, that he had got his name shifted from Sikkim's voter list to Bengal's but a scan of both did not bear this out.

If there's a mistake or tardiness somewhere, there's time till March 29 to rectify it.

"If you are a candidate for a general seat, that is to say, for a seat not reserved as aforesaid, then you must be an elector for any constituency in the state or Union territory," says the poll panel handbook, in a chapter titled "Qualifications for Election to a Legislative Assembly".

(The line appears in a section dealing only with general Assembly seats, hence the qualification. In the section dealing with reserved Assembly seats, the handbook cites the same requirement for a candidate - that of being a voter from the state concerned. Siliguri is a general seat, anyway.)
Bhaichung Bhutia ineligible to contest Assembly elections in Bengal
A senior official at the state chief electoral officer's office in Calcutta confirmed the rule, which means Bhaichung's candidature can be challenged.

"We know that Bhutia's name doesn't feature on the voter list in Bengal.... Asok Bhattacharya, our leader, will lodge a complaint," CPM state secretariat member Rabin Deb said.

Siliguri is the turf of Bhattacharya, a former urban development minister, and Mamata Banerjee had fielded Bhaichung to give the veteran CPM leader a tough fight.

Bhaichung had contested unsuccessfully from the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

"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 said. "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 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.

"It's true that I was a voter in Sikkim but I have changed it.... Now, I'm a voter of Calcutta," Bhaichung told this newspaper this afternoon before the line got disconnected. The former footballer did not take further calls or reply to text messages.

A search of the electoral rolls with his name did not corroborate his claim.

Bhaichung's general election affidavit of March 23, 2014, says: "My name is enrolled in 9-Barfung, Sikkim, at serial no. 121 in part no. 9."

The voter list prepared and updated by the Sikkim chief electoral officer and published on January 11 this year carries Bhaichung's name against the same serial number (121) and the same part no. (9) for 9-Barfung Assembly seat.

Every year, new electoral rolls are published in January across the country, bearing additions and deletions.

The list shows Bhaichung's voter card number, GKP-0062844, and those of his wife Madhuri Tipnis (serial no. 114, voter card number GKP0106344) and other family members, including his brothers.

The Telegraph entered Bhaichung's voter card number in the Sikkim chief electoral officer's search options - any voter can generate his voter slip by entering the voter card number. It displayed the same details as the voter list.

Under poll panel rules, a person's name cannot occur twice on the rolls. So, Bhaichung cannot be a voter in Bengal, however long he has been living in Calcutta, as long as his name appears on Sikkim's voter list.

A poll commission official, however, said there had been instances of a voter's name figuring on multiple voter lists because of human error.

"There can be another possibility: maybe Bhaichung has applied for transposition and it is a work in progress, as the electoral rolls are still being revised," the official said.

The last date for filing nominations for the Siliguri constituency, which votes on April 17, is March 29. "But if he has not yet applied for transposition, he'll be cutting it too fine," the official said.

Doubts have surfaced over another Trinamul candidate from north Bengal: James Kujur, the additional superintendent of police fielded from Kumargram in Alipurduar.

Akash Magharia, Jalpaiguri superintendent of police, today said he had not yet received any official communication on Kujur's resignation.

Kujur had claimed yesterday that he had tendered his resignation to Magharia. Police sources in Jalpaiguri said Kujur was likely to vacate his official residence tonight or tomorrow morning. "He has taken leave and gone home to Kalchini," a source said. "He is not using his official vehicle or other facilities but his belongings are still in the official bungalow."

Election Commission officials have clarified that there's no bar on Kujur contesting the polls provided he resigns from service.

"He should have resigned earlier to ensure that all his ties with the department are severed. If there's a delay, someone can allege that he still has links with the department, and we'll have to verify it," an official said.

Telegraph

TMC files Bhaichung Bhutia as its candidate in Siliguri Assembly seat

8:28 AM
TMC

Siliguri, March 4: The Trinamul Congress today announced former footballer Bhaichung Bhutia as its candidate in Siliguri Assembly seat, where the Left Front will field mayor Asok Bhattacharya in all likelihood.

Trinamul leaders feel the former Indian football captain cannot pose a challenge to Bhattacharya given the Left Front's victory in elections to the Siliguri Municipal Corporation last year.

The mayor said dropping the Siliguri sitting MLA, Rudranath Bhattacharya, from the list of candidates proved that Trinamul couldn't bank on the latter as his name had cropped up in the SJDA scam.

"It does not matter to us who the rival candidates are as we consider all of them as our rivals in elections. But the manner in which the sitting MLA has been replaced by a new candidate in Siliguri seat indicates that Trinamul cannot bank on Rudranath Bhattacharya, whose name was linked to the SJDA scam. Our allegation that he was involved in the scam has been virtually proved by Trinamul's decision," said the CPM leader.

Rudranath Bhattacharya was the chairman of the Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority when around Rs 150 crore had been paid to private firms even before projects assigned to them were completed.

In the 2011 elections, Asok was defeated by Rudranath by a margin of 5,006 votes.

The decision to nominate Bhaichung to the Siliguri seat comprising 33 wards of the SMC has not gone down well with Darjeeling district Trinamul leaders.

"Bhaichung has a huge acceptance among people as a footballer. That is why he has been chosen to contest against Asok Bhattacharya, who is a heavy weight. But the decision would surely dampen the spirit of leaders and workers who are with the party throughout the year. Bhaichung is an occasional visitor and not a regular party worker. Rivals will seize on this aspect. The presence of Bhaichung in Siliguri vis-à-vis that of Bhattacharya is minimal and it would make our task tough," said a Trinamul leader who didn't want to be named.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Bhaichung had been fielded by Trinamul in Darjeeling and he was defeated by S.S. Ahluwalia of the BJP by 1,97,239 votes.

Bhaichung Bhutia
Another Trinamul leader noted that when Bhattacharya was a minister, Bhaichung had attended several programmes with him. "The player had shared the dais with the CPM leader and even appreciated his initiatives with regard to sports. When Bhaichung campaigns for the polls, we don't believe that he will be able to speak much against Bhattacharya. If the candidate is a local Trinamul leader, he will be in a better position to target Asok Bhattacharya. In short, unlike local Trinamul leaders, the footballer has no idea of the basic issues people face and shortcomings of the civic body headed by Bhattacharya," the Trinamul leader said on condition of anonymity.

Observers have said the mayor has an edge over the footballer, especially when the Left Front and the Congress are inching closer to an electoral understanding.

Trinamul insiders said intense lobbying had led to the candidature of the footballer in Siliguri. "It was the same reason that saw Rudranath Bhattacharya being fielded in Siliguri in the 2011 Assembly polls," said a party insider.

All district presidents of the party in north Bengal, except Ranjan Sarkar, who heads the organisation in Darjeeling, were fielded.

Asked if Bhaichung's candidature made the contest easier for the CPM in Siliguri, Jibesh Sarkar, the Darjeeling district Left Front convener, said: "We cannot say whether the contest has become easier or not for us. We would like to say that he is a good player at the football ground. But in the political arena, he is not none to be reckoned with. We are confident of securing the Siliguri seat."

 
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