- Sujal Pradhan NET Correspondent, Sikkim
Although the football legend and Chief of Hamro Sikkim Party (HSP) – Bhaichung Bhutia lost the AIFF elections, but received a rousing welcome by his supporters and well wishers including various political representatives from Sikkim upon his arrival on Tuesday.
Its worthy to note that following the AIFF elections, Bhaichung Bhutia has garnered a public sympathy in Sikkim, especially from the President of Sikkim Football Association (SFA) – Menla Ethenpa who referred Bhutia as “a Losing Horse”.
Bhutia upon his return from AIFF election loss has ‘challenged’ the leaders of the Northeast to ensure right representation of people.
He denied going into the details of the election loss, declaring ‘will tell my side of the story tomorrow’, and assured to hold a press conference.
Bhutia, however, singled out the leaders who were representing the Northeast in a barrage of media-generated inquiries. He stated, “There are people trying to represent us – the leaders of Northeast, but we clearly see the interest is for themselves, their political interests and not the region”.
Bhaichung appealed to the people of the Northeast to select right leaders to represent them. “We have demonstrated to the entire nation that, regardless of the outcome, the people of Sikkim—as well as the entire Northeast—can unite. Some businessmen or political figures may claim to represent the Northeast, but they do not. It is time for the Northeastern citizens to choose the appropriate candidates, putting a Northeastern citizen or an NE State first. But when they get there, it appears to be for their own profit exclusively”, stated the former Indian football captain.
On the overwhelming support he received from Sikkimese people, the Hamro Sikkim Party leader expressed gratitude saying, “We need to stand united. This election has shown, people of Sikkim can get united. Obviously, there are one or two bad apples everywhere. It’s a message to those people as well, you cannot misguide the people. For individual benefits, you cannot sell Sikkim or its people. This message has reached them, I hope they realize and remember that”.
Bhaichung denied making any reference about Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju’s involvement in his loss at AIFF president election. He also steered clear from mentioning about Sikkim Football Association President Menla Ethenpa, who has declared Bhutia as ‘losing horse’ prior to his president election loss.
He stated, “I will share my part of the story tomorrow through a press conference. We need to get right people there (centre) who can represent our people, they cannot just be there saying they represent us but actually misleading the people. The entire Northeast has to be careful”.
The welcoming ceremony for Bhaichung had the attendance of various political leaders from different parties, but a far less representative on by football fraternity of Sikkim.