Calcutta, Jan. 22: Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly have retired from cricket but the chance to again see the most successful opening pair in ODIs together, albeit in the Rajya Sabha, has come and gone.
At least for now.
Inarguably the biggest crowd-puller in Bengal after chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Sourav is understood to have turned down an “offer” of a Rajya Sabha nomination from the CPM.
Sachin, who is a nominated member, is into his second year in the Rajya Sabha. Each full term is for six years.
Sourav wasn’t available for confirmation till late in the evening, but a well-placed source told The Telegraph: “The offer was made last week.… Sourav conveyed his regrets as he has no intention of joining politics.”
The CPM was the dominant partner in successive Left Front governments which ruled the state from 1977 to 2011. With the support of the other Left parties, the CPM is assured of getting one of its nominees elected to the Rajya Sabha.
Mamata’s party, the Trinamul Congress, has already announced four nominees, including the other Dada, Mithun Chakraborty. Three are assured of making it to the Rajya Sabha.
Elections are scheduled for February 7.
The well-placed source added: “Right now, Sourav’s priority is the school which will come up in New Town.… Besides, there are TV commitments and so much more.… He first needs to do complete justice to what he’s working on.”
Fair enough, but fact is that Sourav (India’s most successful Test captain till not long ago) is the most sought after in this season of frenzied political activity.
The general election is only months away and the BJP moved first — offering Sourav a ticket for the Lok Sabha. The Congress, it seems, showed interest thereafter and, now, the CPM.
It won’t surprise if word comes that Trinamul, too, made a quiet pitch to get Sourav on board.
Sourav does share an excellent rapport with some politicians, both in Bengal and outside, but he’s taken care not to mix personal equations with politics.
Many would applaud him for that stance.
Incidentally, just a few days ago, in an interview to this reporter, Sourav declined to say whether, at heart, he was a Rightist or a Leftist.
That was very unlike Sourav, for he’s generally outspoken. But, then, politics is a different ball game.