With the Assembly elections in West Bengal coming closer, it is time that one of the state’s favourite sons, Sourav Ganguly, categorically make his stand known on whether he intends to formally join politics as that would put an end to the speculations around any future careers that he may be mulling.
‘Dada’ shedding his reticence about talking on this subject and clearly articulating his position on the matter would also be in keeping with the image that numerous people worldwide have of him as someone who does not shy away from taking the tough decisions simply because doing so may potentially displease or disappoint some influential individuals.
Ganguly’s stature as a cricket icon, moreover, is unlikely to suffer any collateral damage if he decides to focus full-time on his numerous commitments and interests in the world of sports (that also include football) or tries to carve out a name for himself in the political arena. Since either way, it would have to be his call.
The argument being made by some that the current President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) may be under some sort of pressure to join politics is neither here nor there since it pre-supposes that Ganguly – who has always been known for his independent-mindedness – has now started allowing others to make decisions on his behalf. The former Indian cricket captain has too much of self-respect in him to ever allow such a thing to happen.
As a citizen of a democratic country, Ganguly has as much right as anybody else to contest elections – be they the state Assembly polls or Parliamentary elections – as well as to hold an important political office at the state or central levels. There is no need for him to offer explanations to anybody if he chooses to become a part of the political fraternity.
However, if Ganguly does decide to throw his hat into the political ring, one can only hope that he gives it his best shot and goes about the task with the same level of dynamism and intensity that marked his tenure as leader of the Indian cricket team. Ganguly as a part-time politician is not something that most people, including this columnist, would like to see, if the ‘Prince of Kolkata’, were to see for himself a role in politics.
The question that may naturally arise is whether Ganguly has it in him to become as good a politician as he was as a cricket captain. There are no easy answers to this one as it is still doubtful whether he is entering the political fray in the first place. Suffice it to say, that if the leadership skills he has already demonstrated as a professional cricketer and thereafter as a sports administrator are anything to go by, Ganguly should be able to do a fine job in the field of politics also.
Our political sphere needs to have more proven achievers from different segments becoming an active part of it so that they, in turn, can also contribute to the shaping of a new India. Ganguly could prove to be a good addition to this list if he ever decides to make the shift to politics.
[The author is Advisor at the Gurgaon-based advisory on communications and stakeholder advocacy R M Consulting. Views expressed are personal.]