Star Indian footballer blows quick whistle on political career


Kolkata (AFP)

A star Indian footballer known as the "midfield general" has blown the whistle on a possible political career just a day after joining the ruling party.

Mehtab Hossain, who represented India 31 times, was welcomed with open arms to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP party in Kolkata when he joined this week.

But the 35-year-old, who retired in 2019 and now works as a coach, said just a day later he had made a mistake.

"The people in whose interest I joined politics are now urging me to leave it," the hugely popular former player said in a social media post.

"Even my wife and children are not supporting my sudden decision.

"I would rather remain among my fans and friends as the midfielder they knew. I don't want my life to change. I am not part of any political party from today."

West Bengal state is regularly rocked by political violence and is run by the left-wing TMC party led by fierce Modi critic Mamata Banerjee.

The head of the BJP in West Bengal, Dilip Ghosh told AFP that Hossain left "under pressure from the TMC", a claim rejected by the party.