Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday dined at Indian cricketing legend Sourav Ganguly's residence in South Kolkata, BJP party officials said.
Asked about the dinner meet-up, Ganguly who is also the BCCI chief, told reporters that though there was a lot of speculation, the dinner was because he had known Shah for long.
The dinner was a close family affair where besides Ganguly, his wife Donna, who had earlier in the day performed at Victoria Memorial at a function which Shah attended, the cricketer’s elder brother and sister-in-law played the role of hosts.
Accompanying Shah were BJP idealogue Swapan Dasgupta, BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar, and Leader of the opposition in West Bengal assembly Suvendu Adhikari.
Ganguly, who at one time had been fondly dubbed `Prince of Calcutta' for his cricketing prowess, told reporters, “Bohu kotha rote (many speculations are rife), … but I have known him (Shah) since 2008. While playing, I used to meet him. There’s nothing more than that.
He had also pointed out he had worked with his son in the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
However, analysts point out that Ganguly at one time was rumoured to be the man BJP wanted to snare for a leadership role in the party’s Bengal unit and possibly even its chief ministerial face. However, the master cricketer has notably steered away from politics, confining himself to cricket administration till now.
"It is a regular practice for senior BJP leaders to have lunch or dinner at the residence of noted personalities during their visit to any state," BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar, who is facing up to severe infighting within his party unit, had earlier said.
On Thursday, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, with whom too the Ganguly has excellent relations, responding to queries on Shah’s plans to visit Ganguly, had quipped, "What is the harm? He (Shah) loves rosogolla (a popular Bengali sweetmeat), and I would urge Sourav to keep a large stock of Rosogollas."
It is not known whether Shah did have rosogollas, though sources said assorted Bengali sweets and stuffed puris (fried bread) were on the menu.(With PTI inputs)