Left seeking to cash in on Maradona's Kolkata association to regain lost mass appeal
Kolkata, May 4 (IANS) To regain the party's lost mass appeal, CPI(M)'s youth wing, the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), seems to be seeking to cash in on Argentine football legend late Diego Armando Maradona's association with Kolkata, especially at a time when the Left Front has been reduced to zero when it comes to its presence in the West Bengal Assembly.
The DYFI is going to organise its three-day national conference at New Town on the outskirts of Kolkata from May 12 to May 15. This time the DYFI has decided to shed its tradition of naming the venue after a late Leftist leader. Instead, the venue would be named after Maradona, who visited the City of Joy in 2008 when he was accorded a grand reception that he famously described as "the second biggest reception after Napoli".
The venue will be flooded with pictures depicting the memories of Maradona's visit to Kolkata 14 years back, especially the moments of his meeting former West Bengal Chief Minister late Jyoti Basu.
In 2014, Maradona again came to Kolkata following an initiative by then CPI(M) Lok Sabha member from Diamond Harbour, Shamik Lahiri.
When contacted, DYFI General Secretary Srijan Bhattacharya told IANS, "Maradona was not just a football icon, but was also a symbol of youth and anti-establishment movements. He was an ardent follower of Fidel Castro.
"In the current situation when extremist forces are creating havoc in the country and the state, Maradona is the perfect symbol of movement against such developments. So we decided to name the venue after the football icon."
Bhattacharya also said a unique football match will be organised during the course of the national conference.
"The two participating teams will have both male and female players. If anyone from the LGBTQ community wants to participate as a player, he or she is also welcome," he said.