Former Indian football team captain Bhaichung Bhutia cuts all ties with All India Trinamool Congress
What's the story?
Former Indian football captain Bhaichung Bhutia took to Twitter to officially announce his decision to end his political association with the All India Trinamool Congress Party, ending weeks of speculation regarding his post with the party.
Announcing his decision to cut ties with the party, Bhutia tweeted, "As of today I have officially resigned from the membership and all the official and political posts of All India Trinamool Congress party. I am no longer a member or associated with any political party in India. #politics."
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The 41-year-old made 104 appearances for India and netted 40 goals in a career that spanned 16 years from 1995-2011. In this time, Bhutia also represented Mohun Bagan as well as East Bengal, two iconic clubs in terms of Indian football history.
Post-retirement in 2013, Bhutia opted to try his luck in politics and joined forces with the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress that came to power in West Bengal in 2011.
The heart of the matter
Bhutia, a Padma Shri winner in 2008 had expressed his displeasure over the operations within the party and had come out in the open to claim a spot in a larger organization as part of Sikkim's continual growth.
The ex-Indian captain joined the party in 2013 with an aim to promote the need for sports stars to take up politics. Only a year old in the party, he even contested in the Lok Sabha elections but lost by a massive margin to BJP's SS Ahluwalia.
Two years later, Bhutia contested yet again but luck was not in his favor as he fell short to CPI(M) veteran Ashok Bhattacharya. Earlier this year, Bhutia had also expressed his desire to quit the party and look for a higher position in Sikkim politics.
While the sudden resignation did not evoke a response from the Trinamool Congress, Kiren Rijiju, Union Minister for State for Home wished the former Indian captain the very best for his future.
Bhutia will continue to inspire youngsters through the Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools, which he started in association with Portuguese football manager Carlos Queiroz and Nike in October 2010.
Being an influential figure in Sikkim, it remains to see which path Bhutia opts to take in the near future that could potentially have a massive impact in the state.