BJP-led Tripura chooses Sourav Ganguly as brand ambassador, Trinamool sees no politics, only money

Kolkata: Tripura’s ruling BJP government is happy to have included cricketer Sourav Ganguly as its brand ambassador, while the leadership in his state West Bengal believes the move is only financial and has no political ramifications.

Speaking to ThePrint, Trinamool Congress leader Saugata Roy said the former India captain was a top endorser of brands and the Tripura deal only expanded that portfolio. Roy said: “One cannot see any political move in Ganguly being the brand ambassador of Tripura. He gets crores of rupees from his endorsement. This too will happen. He is a popular face and his role is less in cricket and even less in politics.

Meanwhile, the Bengal BJP unit hailed Tripura’s decision and mocked the state’s Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for not choosing the “Maharaja of Bengal” as its face. State BJP chief Sukanta Majumdar on Wednesday said the Bengal government should at least appoint Ganguly as Kolkata’s municipal sheriff as the post is vacant.

There has been talk in the past that Sourav Ganguly was being wooed by both the Trinamool Congress and the BJP. When he was not appointed BCCI president for a second term, the Trinamool said the BJP was trying to “humiliate” Sourav for not joining the party.

Announcing Sourav’s appointment on Twitter, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Saha said: “It is a matter of great pride that Shri Sourav Ganguly ji, former captain of the Indian cricket team, has accepted our offer to become the brand ambassador of Tripura Tourism Had a telephonic conversation with him today. I am sure that Mr. Ganguly’s participation will definitely give impetus to the tourism sector of the state.

On Wednesday, Tripura’s Tourism Minister Sushant Chowdhary met Ganguly and tabled his government’s proposal. After the meeting, Ganguly told the media in Kolkata that he was open to the role.

He said: “I will visit Tripura as and when required and push for the completion of the cricket stadium. BCCI pays a huge amount for cricket stadiums.

Chowdhury told reporters that the state needed a prominent and popular personality along with proper branding to show it to the world. “Who could be a better face than our dear grandfather,” he said.

Last week, the West Bengal government upgraded Ganguly’s state security from Y to Z following a fresh assessment. This is the second largest security cover which also protects the ministers of the state.

The decision was taken as the tenure of his current security was over. They now have eight to ten police personnel, down from the previous system providing three police.

Ganguly’s last day with Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was at a function to celebrate UNESCO’s “intangible heritage” tag for Durga Puja in 2022.

Banerjee had also opened the batting for Ganguly last year when the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) did not recommend his name for the post of International Cricket Council president.

There was also speculation about Ganguly’s “political ambitions” last May when Union Home Minister Amit Shah had dinner at his home along with other BJP leaders.

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