Political bickerings in Sikkim, in parlance of football

Gangtok
10 Jun 2018

With the kick-of of the world football cup only days away, soccer has come to dominate the political scene in Sikkim too. Here, the war of words has been kicked-off by the launching of Hamro Sikkim Party by ace footballer Baichung Bhutia.  
"Bhaichung Bhutia has been a legendary footballer, but he is behaving like a 'Shikhandi' (a negative character of the epic 'Mahabharata') by firing from the back of those forces inimical to peace and tranquility in Sikkim," SDF's senior spokesperson Bhim Dahal is how the party of Chief Minister Pawan Chamling has sought to tackle Baichung’s charge that corruption was rampant in Sikkim and there had been no development in the state over the past four decades.
“It was apparent to all that Bhutia was acting like a 'Shikhandi' by doing the hit job on somebody else' behalf,” Dahal said. "Otherwise, how dare you call Chamling a corrupt, communal and doctor without any proof if you are not doing a hit job on behalf of someone else?"
The senior SDF leader brushed aside any challenge from Bhutia's party saying a team had no chance in a game if it did not have a captain.
"Bhaichung, who had captained India and various club teams for long, should know the importance of a captain in a team game, but the former India international has forgotten the basic rule and launched a regional party without a captain," Dahal said.
Despite co-founding the HSP, the 41-year-old Bhutia has preferred not to head it but remain its vice-president, along with eight other leaders.
Side-stepping Dahal’s tackle that a team cannot perform without a captain, Bhutia said that it was not for the SDF to worry about how HSP has to be run. "We will decide on the issue of our party president when the time comes," the former India football captain said.
"Chamling (67) has been the SDF president ever since the party was founded in 1993...What is it if it is not a monarchy," Baichung asked. Dahal said Chamling has been trying hard to seek reservation of seats for the tribal Limboo and Tamang communities and secure tribal status for 11 communities before the elections. "The ball is in the Centre's court on the two issues," Dahal said.