In 2005-06, while playing for Mahindra United, Dipendu Biswas was diagnosed with a congenital heart problem. He was asked to quit football by the club doctors but Biswas put his foot down, consulted Dr Shanti Ranjan Dasgupta and decided to continue.
Biswas hates to throw in the towel, be it sports or politics. A narrow loss to BJP’s Shamik Bhattacharya hasn’t subdued him. “I don’t consider this a setback. I think I’ve done well on my (political) debut. I had a big lead (about 17,000 votes) in the panchayat areas of my constituency (Basirhat South). I’m a little clueless about why we failed to keep the momentum going in Basirhat Town and Taki. Maybe it was our fault… We couldn’t convince the people about our mode of development. Overall, however, we’ve reduced the margin from 32,000 in the last Assembly elections to 1586 this term,” Biswas told The Indian Express.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called him after the result was declared. “Didi called me and exhorted me to get ready for the bigger challenges that lie ahead. (Trinamool Congress general secretary) Mukul Roy called me to inform that I would be their candidate in the 2016 polls as well.”
Ahead of the by-polls, Biswas, a local boy, had exuded confidence. “I’m like a brother to these people and they will vote for me. They will support me because I’m very serious about improving their living conditions. Drinking water and drainage are problem areas which need to be rectified,” he had said.
Now he says his defeat might prove to be a lost opportunity for the locals. “The Chief Minister is from our party. We’ve a sitting MP here. My victory would have accelerated the development process as far as infrastructure and facilities are concerned. Now we’ve to start afresh.”
For a sportsman, winning and losing are two sides of the same coin. Biswas had learnt this very early in career, when he was at the Tata Football Academy. He can take the rough with the smooth.
Biswas had burst onto the scene in 1996-97 and was immediately tipped as the next big thing in Bengal football. By then, he already had led the country at Under-19 level and the fans here embraced the teenager who revelled in goal-poaching.
In 1998-99, he became one of the top earners in the Kolkata maidan when Mohun Bagan gave him a Rs 12 lakh contract. It was the brighter phase of his career.
Then came a period of uncertainty following the heart problem. Biswas hung on gamely but had lost his mojo a wee bit as a footballer. Tenacity, however, has never been in short supply. Biswas already has an eye on 2016.
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