Kolkata: In what is likely to give a major boost to its West Bengal unit, the Amit Shah-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is mulling to get former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly – a hugely popular figure in the state - inducted in the party very soon, reports said on Thursday.
Ganguly was offered a BJP ticket to contest the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, however, the cricketer had then declined the proposal. Narendra Modi, then BJP's prime ministerial candidate, had reportedly suggested that the former cricketer would be made the sports minister if the party comes to power at the Centre.
Sourav Ganguly is considered one of the most successful captains in the history of Indian cricket. 'Dada', as he is affectionately called, is credited to giving birth to a new brand of cricket in India. During his tenure as captain, Ganguly inducted young and fearless cricketers into the team and ushered in an era of tremendous success for Indian cricket in Test and ODIs.
Ganguly is possibly the most popular public personality in West Bengal. When he played at the Eden Gardens Stadium for Pune Warriors against the Kolkata Knight Riders, the cricket lovers of the city were divided and a large chunk of them even cheered for the visiting team.
Despite boasting of a tremendous batting record, most people remember Dada's association with Indian cricket for his great leadership.
After making its presence felt in the Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal, the BJP has been gearing up to strengthen party organisation in the Trinamool Congress-ruled eastern state.
West Bengal is now one of the most important states for the BJP, which has set its eye on the 2016 Assembly polls. BJP chief Amit Shah has himself showed keen interest in organising the party cadre here and has visited the eastern state three times in the least few months.
The party has been taking several steps from increasing cadre mobilisation to reaching out to the masses with its people-friendly policies.
The BJP, which secured 18 percent vote share in the state in the last Lok Sabha polls and bagged two seats, Asansol and Darjeeling, is trying to change the political equation in the state, which till recently was polarised between Left and Trinamool Congress.
In recent past, several incidents of clashes has been reported between the BJP and TMC members.