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‘Humiliated’: Ex-Indian hockey captain Prabodh Tirkey gets ticket from Odisha and quits Congress | India News

Vaseline 2 months ago

Prabodh Tirkey, former captain of the Indian hockey team, resigned from the party on Tuesday, saying he faced “humiliation” by the Congress.

Tirkey, who joined the Congress last September after quitting his job with Air India, was named the party’s candidate from Talsara Assembly seat under Odisha’s Sundargarh Lok Sabha constituency on April 2. However, when the party published its second list on April 14, Devendra Bhitaria had replaced Tirkey on the seat, which is reserved for candidates belonging to Scheduled Tribes.

The elections to the state legislature and the Lok Sabha will be held simultaneously in Odisha in four phases – from May 13 to June 1.

“When I decided to quit my job with Air India to join the Congress, I was assured by the party that I would be given an MLA ticket. Ever since I joined the party, I started groundwork in the constituency. I was very happy when my name was announced in the first list but I don’t know what happened and why I was replaced,” Tirkey told The Indian Express.

“If the party had a different plan, they should have told me about it instead of humiliating an international hockey player and a tribal youth,” the 39-year-old said.

Festive offer

He said he broke down after his name was withdrawn and was unable to contact a senior Congress leader to ask them why the party took that decision despite several attempts. “No one contacted me nor was I able to get in touch with them. So what’s the point of staying in the Grand Old Party?” Tirkey asked.

Congress sources said Tirkey was replaced as they felt Devendra Bhitaria, his replacement, had better prospects of winning. Bhitaria, a retired government employee, belongs to the Bhuyan community which has a significant presence in the constituency. Bhitaria’s family also has a Congress background.

Talsara was known as a Congress bastion, with the party winning the seat six times between 1995 and 2014. However, in the last Assembly elections, Bhabani Shankar Bhoi of the BJP won the seat, and the Congress came third.

Prabodh Tirkey is a resident of Lulkidihi village under Balisankara block, part of Talsara Assembly constituency. He is the younger brother of Ignace Tirkey, also a former captain of the Indian hockey team. Prabodh made his international debut in 2000 and captained the Indian team that won the Asia Cup gold medal in Chennai in 2007.

He is the second big name in hockey – after Dilip Tirkey – to enter politics in recent years. Dilip, who currently heads Hockey India, is the BJD’s choice for the Sundargarh Lok Sabha constituency, to which Talsara belongs.

Sundargarh is known as a breeding ground for hockey talent, with over 60 international players from the district.