Business leader Lohia becomes East Bengal president, aims to take it among the 'best clubs of Asia'

East Bengal also inducted former India women's cricket team captain Jhulan Goswami as a member of the executive committee.
Last Updated : 12 June 2024, 15:27 IST

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Kolkata: After three decades, the iconic football club East Bengal made a change of guard at the top on Wednesday with city-based industrialist Murari Lal Lohia taking over as its president from Dr Pronab Dasgupta.

Founder of railway wagon manufacturing company Jupiter Wagons, which has a market cap of Rs 25,626 crore and has diversified into commercial vehicle business, Lohia, an IIT pass out, has taken over from Dasgupta, an eminent gynecologist.

On his first day as president, Lohia made a bold promise of making East Bengal "the best football club in Asia". "East Bengal is not just a football club but a legacy institution. While we continue to strive for being the best in the country with our senior football team, we need to have a concrete roadmap for the future to make East Bengal among the best in Asia", Lohia said after the first meeting of the executive committee here.

"Only time will tell whether we will succeed in this mission but I seek the support of millions of East Bengal supporters and members. Dreams only succeed when people come around you", he said.

An East Bengal fan from childhood, Lohia said he had approached Dasgupta and executive committee member Debabrata 'Nitu' Sarkar to find an "active role".

"In the last few months, I approached Dr Dasgupta and Nitu and started discussing with them on playing a more active role in giving something to the club of which I've been a supporter since childhood", he said.

Dasgupta said: "All good things must come to an end, for five years I've been pressing all my colleagues to look for someone who is smarter and more popular than me, I'm glad they have found someone." Businessman Rupak Saha has become the new general secretary replacing Kalyan Majumdar who held the post for more than two decades.

East Bengal also inducted former India women's cricket team captain Jhulan Goswami as a member of the executive committee.

"Never in my wildest dream, I had thought of becoming an EC member of the club. I will give my best with the limited experience that I have," said Jhulan.

Charting out their priorities, Nitu Sarkar said, "Bringing financial stability to the club is the main aim and the next target is youth development in all disciplines." All the members were elected unanimously.

Asked whether it's healthy for a club to have no opposition, Sarkar said: "It's not for us to bring in opposition. Obviously, we must be doing something right so that there's no opposition." Besides the top two posts, the new EC has five vice-presidents, 10 office-bearers and 21 members.

Last year, East Bengal had ended a 12-year wait for a national trophy, winning the Super Cup.

East Bengal executive committee

President: Murari Lal Lohia; General Secretary: Rupak Saha; Assistant General Secretary: Dr Santi Ranjan Dasgupta; Finance Secretary: Sadananda Mukherjee; Treasurer: Debdas Samajdar; Football Secretary: Saikat Ganguly; Cricket Secretary: Sanjib Acharya; Hockey Secretary: Prabir Kumar Daffader; Athletic Secretary: Partha Pratim Roy; Tennis Secretary: Indranil Ghosh; Ground Secretary: Rajat Guha.

Vice-presidents: Ajoy Krishna Chatterjee, Sangar Bagri, Subhasish Chakraborty, Rahul Todi, Kalyan Majumdar.

Members: Jhulan Goswami, Subir Ganguly, Santosh Bhattacharya, Diptendu Mohan Bose, Siddartha Sarcar, Debabrata Sarkar, Birendra Saha, Dipankar Chakraborty, Biswajit Mazumdar, Tapan Roy, Suman Dasgupta, Aritra Roy Chowdhury, Tamal Ghosal, Beni Madhav Bhattacharya, Manab Paul, Subhasis Dasgupta, Saroj Bhattacharjee, Molly Ganguly, Debasish Bose, Bikash Dutta, Biplab Paul.

Published 12 June 2024, 15:27 IST

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