From pitch to politics: retired Indian footballer Mehtab Hossain joins BJP

Image Courtesy: ISL/Twitter

Mehtab Hossain, former Indian footballer and a legend of both the football giants of Kolkata, East bengal and Mohun Bagan, has decided to join the Bharatiya Janata Party in West Bengal.

Image Courtesy: ISL/Twitter

An icon of the Indian football fraternity, Mehtab Hossain was welcomed into the saffron party on Tuesday by Dilip Ghost, the president of BJP West Bengal at the party’s headquarters in Kolkata.

The former defensive midfielder has worked in welfare of the people of his state amidst the novel Coronavirus pandemic. However to strive ahead in his philanthropic work, Hossain had decided it was the right time to step into politics.

“If I get power, I can help people in my region and make some difference. That is my motto,” Hossain said in an exclusive interview with India Today.

‘What I was doing wasn’t enough. People were really suffering and it wasn’t sufficient. That’s why I joined politics and decided this was the best way to help people,” the 34 year old added.

“Dilip Da called and BJP came as an option and I joined,” Hossain was prompt with his reply, when asked about his choice of party.

“I don’t think BJP does politics in the name of religion. Then they would not have welcomed me to the team,” he went on, “In my opinion, BJP is a secular party. So it feels good to be able to join this team.”

Mehtab Hossain played for three years with Mohun Bagan from 2003 to 2006, and later joined their historical rivals East Bengal in 2007, where he thrived for ten seasons. Making 91 appearances for the Bangal Brigade across all tournaments, he won the prestigious Federation Cup for three times.

Hossain returned to the Marines for one season before his retirement in 2019, and also played in the Indian Super League for Kerala Blasters and Jamshedpur FC, making 38 and 12 appearances respectively.

Hossain’s international career, starting in 2005 spun over a decade. He has earned 31 caps for India, and scored twice. Following his retirement, Hossain started his managerial career with Southern Samity, which compete in the I-League 2nd Division.

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