New Delhi: Lauding West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee`s handling of Darjeeling crisis, former India football captain Baichung Bhutia, who has been fielded by her Trinamool Congress for the Lok Sabha polls, promised to work for the development of the hills and serve pople with honesty.
Hours after he was announced as the Trinamool candidate from Darjeeling for the forthcoming general elections, Baichung told IANS that he was grateful to Banerjee.
"It is a great honour for me and I am grateful to Ms Banerjee for giving me this opportunity to contest the general elections. I hope to work hard for the people with honest and transparency," the Sikkim boy told IANS here.
Bhutia was all praise for Banerjee`s delicate handling of the Gorkhaland movement that threatened peace in Darjeeling last year. The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has been agitating for a separate statehood for Darjeeeling.
"Let us admit that Darejeeling has been neglected and that is the reason why they are demanding different things. There has been no development in the hills. But thanks to the chief minister, there is now some peace in Darjeeeling. There is lot of potential in Darjeeling, be it tourism or tea gardens. I would like to work honestly for the development of Darjeeling, " he added.
Bhutia revealed that he was given the offer two months ago.
"Two months ago I was given the offer and I finally decided to take the plunge into active politics," he said.
Bhutia hoped his mass fan following would help him to connect with the voters instantly.
"I hope my fan following works. But it will always be a difficult task," he said.
The football star also hoped that if he wins the elections, it would also help him to work for the development of sports in the country.
"I would also like to work for the development of sports in the country. It would be a great opportunity to work on several issues," he said.