Kolkata: Union Home Minister Amit Shah dined Friday at Indian cricketing legend Sourav Ganguly’s residence in South Kolkata. Asked about the dinner meet-up, Sourav 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 Snehashis and mother Nirupa 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 in this dinner get together.”
Ganguly also pointed out he works with his son (Jay Shah) 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 Majumdar, who is facing up to severe infighting within his party unit, had earlier said.
Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, with whom Ganguly has also has excellent relations had earlier said Thursday, “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. Shah spent approximately 45 minutes at the Ganguly residence.