Dribblers face tough game

Dribblers face tough game

Dribblers face tough game
 Ace footballer Baichung Bhutia is a household name for fans of the game across India. Trying his luck in the political arena, outside the football field, however, has not been satisfactory.

As Bhutia and fellow players, Dipendu Biswas, Rahim Nabi and Sashthi Duley, try their dribbling skills at the ballot box this polling season in Bengal, they might not receive the adulation they have got for years.

Bhutia, the most prominent among the four running in the political midfield this year, has already played a match during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and lost. Biswas, Nabi and Duley can only hope their fate will not be the same as that of the Sikkimese star. Fighting on a Trinamool Congress ticket from the Left bastion of Siliguri in North Bengal, his match got over on April 17 but the final whistle will be blown on May 19.

As he took on the CPM heavyweight Asok Bhattacharya, ground reports suggest he will put up a tough fight as his chances of winning are slim. Even though Bhutia lost in 2014 from Darjeeling, he received around 1 lakh votes, which his party leaders consider an achievement.

After sweating it out in Siliguri for nearly two months, Bhutia is now campaigning for the Trinamool in Kolkata.

Biswas, the Trinamool candidate from Basirhat South in North 24 Parganas, lost to BJP’s Shamik Bhattacharya, in the Assembly by-election in 2014. While his loss by just 1,500 votes made way for the BJP to have its sole MLA in Bengal, Biswas is confident he will be able to defeat Shamik this time.

The Trinamool won the municipal election at Basirhat and adjacent Taki in 2015 where he led the party’s poll campaign, he pointed out. “Mamata’s government did a lot of work in the constituency. It’s only because of Didi that rail connection, roads, water supply have improved in the area and people have taken note of all that,” he said.

Nabi, who once dribbled with Biswas, is Trinamool’s man at Panduah in Hooghly district. Although the district is considered a Trinamool stronghold, Panduah itself is among the last remaining Left fortresses, with CPM’s Amzad Hossain winning in 2011. Nabi, however, believes that despite the tough fight ahead of him, winning the seat might not be impossible since the Trinamool had a lead over the CPM of around 7,000 votes from the Assembly segment in 2014 LS polls.

At Dhanekhali, in another part of Hooghly, Duley, fighting on a BJP ticket, is having a tough fight. As the football stars plan to dribble their way into the hearts of voters, all of them seem to have a tough match ahead.

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