Amid reports that Roger Binny is likely to replace Sourav Ganguly as the BCCI President, West Bengal's ruling TMC on Tuesday accused the BJP of "trying to humiliate" the former Indian skipper as it failed to induct him into the party.
The BJP had tried to spread a message among people ahead of last year's Assembly elections that Ganguly, who is immensely popular in the state, would join the party, Trinamool Congress spokesperson Kunal Ghosh asserted.
The TMC also claimed that it is an example of political vendetta' that Union Home Minister Amit Shah's son Jay Shah can continue as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Secretary for a second term but Ganguly can't do so as its president.
The BJP, however, dubbed the allegations as baseless, saying that the saffron camp never tried to induct the "Prince of Calcutta", as Ganguly is fondly called by his supporters, into its fold.
Roger Binny, a member of the 1983 World Cup winning team, on Tuesday filed his nomination for the post of BCCI President and is likely to get the top job unopposed when the Board holds its AGM on October 18 in Mumbai.
Jay Shah has also filed his nomination and will continue as BCCI Secretary for a second consecutive term if no other candidate throws his hat in the ring. Shah is also expected to replace Ganguly as India's representative at the ICC Board.
The BJP wanted to spread a message among the people of Bengal as if it was going to induct Sourav into the party, Ghosh said.
We are not commenting directly on this matter. But since the BJP floated such propaganda during and after the polls, it will surely be the responsibility of the BJP to respond to such speculations (that politics is behind Ganguly not getting a second term as BCCI chief). It seems the BJP is trying to humiliate Sourav, he said.
Referring to Amit Shah, the TMC state general secretary said a heavyweight BJP leader went to the former Indian cricket team captain's house for dinner in May this year.
"I think Sourav is the best person to explain the situation. If he has any political interpretation of the situation, I don't know how much he can articulate, Ghosh said.
Extending support to Ganguly, TMC Rajya Sabha MP Dr Santanu Sen wondered why the BCCI president would not get a second term.
He tweeted: Another example of political vendetta. Son of @AmitShah can be retained as Secretary of #BCCI. But @SGanguly99 can't be. Is it because he is from the State of @MamataOfficial or he didn't join @BJP4India?
Reacting to the allegations, BJP national vice-president Dilip Ghosh dubbed it as "baseless".
"We don't know when the BJP tried to induct Sourav Ganguly into the party. Sourav Ganguly is a cricketing legend. Some people are now shedding crocodile tears about the changes in BCCI. Did they have any role when he took over as BCCI president? The TMC should stop politicising every issue," Ghosh said.
Ganguly, at one time, was rumoured to be the man BJP wanted to rope in for a leadership role in the party's West Bengal unit, as it was looking for a face to counter Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's charisma.
However, the master cricketer has steered away from politics, confining himself to cricket administration till now.
Ganguly had earlier told reporters that though there was a lot of speculation after he hosted a dinner party for the Union home minister, it was because he knows Shah for a long time.
According to a BCCI source, the former India captain was keen to continue as BCCI President but he was told that there is no precedence of giving a second term to the Board president.
Ganguly was offered IPL chairmanship but he declined the offer saying he cannot accept becoming head of a sub-committee in BCCI after heading the same institution, the source said.
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