Kolkata: After the controversy raised by the Trinamool Congress that his political affiliation was with the CPI (M) and he could not be a brand ambassador of the Election Commission, former India captain Sourav Ganguly has cried off.
"Sourav has written to the Election Commission seeking relief from the promo, and the commission giving respect to his emotions and sentiment, has decided not to carry the advertisement," DG (Information, Education and Communication) of the West Bengal Election Commission Akshay Routh told reporters on Tuesday.
"As there is a complaint by a major political party that he has political affiliation and cannot be an ambassador of the EC which resulted in a controversy, Sourav has expressed unhappiness and has requested the commission not to use him as brand ambassador," Routh said.
The controversy arose when Urban Development Minister Ashok Bhattacharya of the CPI(M) claimed Ganguly would campaign for him in the elections.
The Trinamool Congress also complained that Ganguly had previously worked as brand ambassadors for several government departments including the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation.
Routh said that the Election Commission had been happy earlier that Ganguly had agreed to be its icon to interest people to vote in the state assembly elections. "Sourav is not only an icon of the Election Commission, but is a national icon."
Asked whether there was any difference of opinion between the Chief Electoral Office and the Election Commission on Ganguly`s political affiliations, Routh said "There is no difference of opinion.
"The state CEO and Election Commission are unanimous. We have found no proof of political involvement of Ganguly in the CD provided by the political party," he said, speaking about the CD provided by the Trinamool Congress to the EC.
"We have decided to withdraw Sourav only to give respect to Sourav`s emotions. We can use him for a different purpose," Routh said.
Ganguly fans, meanwhile, said that the decision was politically motivated and to defame him.
"Sourav has contributed a lot to the promotion of cricket. This is indisputable. He also responded to an invitation by Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee to inaugurate a stadium in Behala recently," they said.
Asked about Ganguly`s replacement, Routh said there was percussionist Bikram, who has been chosen as brand ambassador for the EC.
The EC has also decided to use the services of India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and former president A P J Abdul Kalam who were used in EC advertisements during the recent Jharkhand and Bihar elections, he said.