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Bhaichung Bhutia Hangs Up Political Boots

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Senjo M R
Last updated on: June 25, 2024 21:40 IST
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Football icon Bhaichung Bhutia on Tuesday, June 25, 2024, announced that he was quitting politics, following his defeat in the recent assembly elections in Sikkim.

IMAGE: Former Indian footballer Bhaichung Bhutia walks the ramp showcasing label Kuzu by designer Karma Sonam during the Lakme Fashion Week in February 2018. Photograph: PTI from the Rediff Archives.

Bhaichung, the vice president of the Sikkim Democratic Front, lost to the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha's Rikshal Dorjee Bhutia in the Barfung seat, which marked his sixth electoral defeat.

He joined politics in 2014 when the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal named him its candidate for the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat.

In 2018, he took the plunge into the political arena of his state by forming the Hamro Sikkim Party.

Last year, he merged his party with the Pawan Chamling-led SDF.

'Firstly, I would like to congratulate Mr P S Tamang and the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha for winning the assembly elections. The people of Sikkim have given them a resounding mandate and I hope the SKM govt will work to fulfil their promises and take Sikkim to greater heights across all sectors,' Bhutia said in a statement.

'After the 2024 election results, I have had the realisation that electoral politics is simply not for me. I am therefore quitting all forms of electoral politics with immediate effect,' he added.

After losing the Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency to the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2014, the TMC fielded Bhutia as its candidate for the 2016 West Bengal assembly elections in the Siliguri seat, but he lost to the Communist Party of India-Marxist candidate.

Following the formation of his party in 2018, he contested the 2019 Sikkim assembly elections from two seats but lost in both.

He again unsuccessfully contested the by-election to the Gangtok assembly seat, which was held later that year.

He lost the 2024 assembly elections to the SKM by 4,346 votes.

Bhutia, the former Indian football captain, said he felt he had great ideas for the development of sports and tourism in Sikkim.

'...given a chance, I would have loved to implement and contribute to the growth of the state in a very honest and sincere way,' he said.

'Unfortunately it was not to be. I am certain there will be more people with better ideas to do so,' he said.

Bhutia said that his intention in politics was to do good for the people of the state and the country.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Senjo M R© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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