The commissars love their football, disavow ideology

September 2nd, 2011 - 6:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Sep 2 (IANS) They may idolise Hugo Chavez. But as Venezuela takes on Argentina in this soccer crazy city, West Bengal’s Communist leaders, who ruled the state for 34 years, are for once not acting on ideological lines.

On Friday, Communist politicians here seemed more keen to watch good football than swear by their ideological ally Venezuela.

The huge public support for Argentina and its captain Lionel Messi may have also prompted the equally soccer loving leftists, particularly of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), to lean towards Argentina.

“Yes, we support Chavez’s Left liberal policies and his fight against imperialism. But Argentina is the land of Diego Maradona, who proudly sports a tattoo of Che Guevara on his body and is a great admirer of Fidel Castro,” said a CPI-M party leader, who did not wish to be named.

The CPI-M led Left Front’s 34 years of rule ended in West Bengal in May.

The match, to be played at the Yuva Bharati Krirangan, is one of the most high profile sports events to be staged in the subcontinent.

“My support is for good football game, not towards any team,” CPI-M state committee member Sujan Chakroborty told IANS.

CPI-M state committee member and former MP Shamik Lahiri said: “I will go to the stadium to watch the match. I am not supporting any team but I do want Messi to play well.”

Kolkata has been enveloped by Messi fever. Delirious fans are cheering the Argentine and its famous stars. The streets of Kolkata are adorned with Argentine flags and large posters of Messi and his mates.

“I will watch the game on TV. But I will support only good football, not any particular team,” Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) state secretary Kshiti Goswami said.

“I am a supporter of Brazil, so no question of supporting either of the teams,” Students Federation India (SFI) state secretary Kaustav Chatterjee said.

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