West Bengal Prime Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday expressed shock that Sourav Ganguly has not been nominated for the post of president of the country’s cricket board, despite Jay Shah being granted a second term as secretary. She also stated that she will ask Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow the former Indian skipper to run for the post of chief of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
The Chairman of the Trinamool Congress, who is on a four-day tour of North Bengal, said upon landing at Bagdogra airport on Monday: “Sourav is our pride and he played well and did well as an administrator too. He was given responsibilities as Chairman of the Board for three years and he fulfilled the role very well. We don’t know why he was then removed after the term expired and the son of Amitbabu (son of Amit Shah, Jay Shah) stayed there. We have no problem with him remaining Secretary of BCCI, but we want to know why Sourav was removed as BCCI President.”
She stressed that Jagmohan Dalmiya, Sharad Pawar etc. represented India in the ICC and Sourav should do the same.
Mamata said it has nothing to do with politics. She continued: “This is my humble greeting and request to the Prime Minister to allow him to stand trial in the ICC. He is robbed. What is his fault?”
Observers say that Sourav Ganguly, known as ‘Maharaj’, represents West Bengal’s identity and image. They added that Mamata had struck for the southpaw batter at the right time and that the TMC had never said anything against him in the past two years, even though there was a strong rumor that he was joining the Bharatiya Janata Party.
In response, BJP spokesman Samik Bhattacharya said: “Why is Bengal’s ambassador not Sourav but Shah Rukh Khan if she (Mamata) feels so much for Sourav? They unnecessarily try to bring politics into play.”
When it was first announced that Sourav would not remain BCCI president, Trinamool leaders had spoken out in his favor, and now Mamata has joined the ranks.
The former Indian captain said last week he could compete for the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB).
According to people close to Sourav, he wants to stay in the cricket administration and then possibly take the next step after considering all the options.
The TMC is expected to raise the issue of “robbing Sourav” to attack the BJP, observers said.
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