Gangtok: Following his return after the loss in election for the post of president of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), Bhaichung Bhutia on Tuesday ‘challenged’ the leaders of the Northeast to ensure right representation for the people.

Bhutia was given a grand welcome by his supporters and well-wishers including various political representatives from Sikkim.

Bhutia, however, denied going into the details of his AIFF election loss, declaring “will tell my side of the story tomorrow”, promising a press conference to the media in attendance.

Taking on a flurry of questions thrown by the media, however, Bhaichung Bhutia targeted leaders representing the Northeast. “There are a lot of people trying to represent us, they are the leaders for the Northeast but we clearly see the interest is for themselves, their political benefits and not the Northeast,” he stated.

Bhutia also appealed to the people of Northeast to select the right leaders to represent them.

“We have shown the entire country despite whatever the result, Sikkim people can come united; and not just Sikkim, but the entire Northeast. It is time for the people of the Northeast to select the right people so that a Northeasterner comes first,” stated the former Indian football captain.

On the overwhelming support he received from the Sikkimese people, the Hamro Sikkim Party leader expressed gratitude saying, “We need to stand united. This election has shown that the people of Sikkim can get united. Obviously, there are one or two bad apples everywhere. It’s a message to those people as well, you cannot misguide the people. For individual benefit, you cannot sell Sikkim or its people. This message has reached them, I hope they realise and remember that.”

Bhaichung denied making any reference to Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju’s involvement in his loss at the AIFF president election. He also steered clear from mentioning Sikkim Football Association President Menla Ethenpa, who had declared Bhutia a ‘losing horse’ prior to his election loss.

“I will share my part of the story tomorrow through a press conference. We need to get the right people there (Centre) who can represent our people, they cannot just be there saying they represent us but actually misleading the people. The entire Northeast has to be careful,” he stated.

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