After consecutive defeats, footballer Bhaichung Bhutia retires from politics | India News

After the 2024 election results, I realized that electoral politics is simply not for me, he said.

Bhaichung Bhutia | Photo: X/@bhaichung15

Press Trust of India Gangtok

Indian football star Bhaichung Bhutia announced his retirement from politics on Tuesday after suffering defeat in the recent parliamentary elections in Sikkim.

Bhaichung, the vice-president of the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), lost to Rikshal Dorjee Bhutia of the SKM in the Barfung constituency, marking his sixth electoral defeat.

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He entered politics in 2014 when the ruling TMC in West Bengal nominated him as its candidate for the Lok Sabha seat from Darjeeling. In 2018, he took the plunge into politics in his state and founded the Hamro Sikkim Party. Last year, he merged his party with the SDF led by Pawan Chamling.

“First of all, I would like to congratulate Mr PS Tamang and the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) for their victory in the assembly elections. The people of Sikkim have given them an overwhelming mandate and I hope that the SKM government will work to fulfil its promises and take Sikkim to new heights in all sectors,” he said in a statement.

“After the 2024 election results, it became clear to me that electoral politics is simply not for me. That is why I am withdrawing from 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 from Siliguri constituency, but he lost to the CPI(M). After founding his party in 2018, he contested two seats in the Sikkim assembly elections in 2019, but lost both. He again contested unsuccessfully in the by-election for the Gangtok parliamentary seat held later the same year.

In the recent elections he lost to the SKM by 4,346 votes.

Bhutia, the former captain of the Indian football team, said he has great ideas for the development of sports and tourism in Sikkim.

“…if I had the chance, I would have liked to contribute and work towards the growth of the state in a very honest and sincere way,” he said.

“Unfortunately, it didn't work out. I'm sure there will be more people with better ideas,” he said.

Bhutia said his political intention was to do good for the people of his state and country.

Sybil Alvarez

"Incurable gamer. Infuriatingly humble coffee specialist. Professional music advocate."

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