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Former India footballer Bhaichung Bhutia resigns from Trinamool Congress, claims to be member of no party

Former Indian football player and team captain, Bhaichung Bhutia announced that he has quit the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and holds no position within the party on Monday.

Bhutia took to Twitter to announce his decision where he said, “I am no longer a member or associated with any political party in India.”

The former striker quit professional football in 2011 and joined the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC in 2013 to give politics a shot. Originally from Sikkim, he decided to contest elections from Darjeeling, West Bengal in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, according to The Indian Express. However, he lost to BJP’s SS Ahluwalia by 1,96,795 votes.

File photo of Baichung Bhutia. AFP

In 2016, the Padma Shri awardee, contested state Assembly elections from Siliguri against CPM’s Ashok Bhattacharya but lost that as well, as per India Today.

In recent times, he went against the party stand on Gorkhaland and has expressed his support for a separate statehood for the region, reported News18. Last year, protests demanding a separate Gorkhaland and turned violent and led to a shutdown in the hilly region for more than three months.

The TMC declined to comment on Bhutia resigning from the party. “I’m not saying anything on this,” Trinamool secretary general and West Bengal education minister Partha Chatterjee told IANS.

However, sources told PTI that Bhutia had informed the TMC about his decision one month ago as he was no longer interested in being associated with any political party.

Bred in the sleepy Tinkitam village of mountainous Sikkim, Bhutia traversed many an uncharted territory in Indian soccer.

Adored as the “Sikkimese sniper” for his uncanny ability to score goals in his two decade old soccer career, Bhutia led the country’s national team for 12 long years.

He had also turned out in the English professional league for Bury FC.

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