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regular-article-logo Monday, 22 July 2024

'Simply not for me': After consecutive defeats, Bhaichung Bhutia quits politics

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

PTI Gangtok Published 25.06.24, 06:01 PM
Bhaichung Bhutia.

Bhaichung Bhutia. File picture.

Indian football icon Bhaichung Bhutia on Tuesday announced that he was quitting politics, following his defeat in the recently held assembly elections in Sikkim.

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

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He joined politics in 2014 when the ruling TMC in West Bengal named him as 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 PS Tamang and the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) 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," he 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 BJP 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 CPI(M). 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 recently held 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.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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