Ex-India captain Bhaichung Bhutia has said that he will continue to work hard for the growth of football in the nation, unconcerned by Kalyan Chaube's overwhelming victory in election for AIFF president post. He expressed his gratitude to everyone for their support throughout the election process.
A day after arriving back in Sikkim, he addressed the media at a news conference here in Gangtok, saying, "I am committed to working for the development of football in the country."
"Now it is time to dust all election-related issues and concentrate on the ongoing work for the betterment of the beautiful game of football in the country," Bhutia said.
The former striker, 45, stated that he was "shocked to see the level of political interference in the elections for various AIFF posts in which three Union ministers and about nine chief ministers had meddled at various levels to influence the outcome."
He chose not to record the identities of the politicians who meddled in the election, nevertheless. "Whatever has been said and done on the results of elections cannot be undone, but I would yet again like to congratulate Kalyan Chaubey on his election as AIFF President and hope that football will grow under his presidentship," Bhutia said.
At the same time, the former football player expressed concern that the development of the sport had "suffered over the past several decades as wrong people" were let into the national and state associations due to "political interference." He dared his political opponents to manage the United Sikkim football club for at least three years in response to many accusations made by them that questioned his contributions to football in Sikkim or overseas.
“Even the celestial powers want me to stay in Sikkim and do good work for the people,” the former Indian captain remarked, keeping a hopeful attitude in the aftermath of an electoral defeat. The founder of the Hamro Sikkim Party, Bhutia, took a jab at the rising crime rate in Sikkim and said that his state was at the top of the list for crimes committed against minors.
"How can our society go forward when we can't even take care of our children? It is really sad to see the spike in crime against children in Sikkim as per the NCRB data," he said. The individuals holding different official positions in Sikkim need to be embarrassed by it, he remarked, taking digs at Prem Singh Tamang’s administration, with which he has a tense relationship.