By Subir Bhaumik
Kolkata, March 4 (IANS) Former Indian captain and now BCCI president Sourav Ganguly has momentarily refused to open a new innings — one on the murky pitch of party politics.
Belying expectations that he would attend PM Modi’s March 7 Brigade Rally in Kolkata and perhaps join the saffron party, Ganguly has informed the BJP high command that his present health condition does not permit the plunge.
Ganguly suffered a mild heart attack in December last year and blockages were found in four of his arteries, necessiating implant of stents . He was in and out of hospital for a while.
“Though he has recovered , he is in no condition to go for extensive campaigning,” sources close to Ganguly said. “His family is totally against him taking the risk.”
Ganguly has been courted by the BJP top brass for a while now to be their ‘Bengal face’.
Speculation mounted over his meeting with Governor Jagdeep Dhankar and his several meetings with Home Minister Amit Shah, whose son Jay Shah is BCCI secretary.
Ganguly became the BCCI president owing to strong support from boards of BJP-run states and shares a pleasant working relationship with Jay Shah.
Sources say the BJP top brass has been courting Ganguly ever since the last parliament elections when the party set its sights on West Bengal.
Backing him for BCCI’s top job was part of the plan to woo Ganguly, whose leadership skills as India’s cricket captain , especially his no-holds barred aggression, have impressed many in the saffron party.
The BJP top brass need ‘a real Bengali hero’ to turn the tables on Mamata Banerji — and Ganguly, some in the party thought, was their answer .
But Ganguly’s health, and possibly his doubt about the timing to join politics, seem to have foreclosed the possibility of a dramatic ‘Dada versus Didi’ battle in politically charged West Bengal.
By Subir Bhaumik