Kolkata: With just a few hours to go for the Football World Cup 2018 to kick off in Russia, enthusiasm of the people for football in Kolkata, which is situated 4,519 km away from the World Cup's host country, is as high as always and preparations to celebrate the "football festival" is going on in full swing all across the state.
With Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee rejuvenating the football fervor in Bengal, sports personalities, who are now MPs and MLAs of Trinamool Congress, are not letting the opportunity go to encourage people from all walks of life to get involved in the game of football.
Starting from Arjun Award winner footballer Prasun Banerjee, to footballer Dipendu Biswas at Basirhat in North 24-Parganas, they are leaving no stones unturned in making foolproof preparation to watch the matches of the World Cup.
Banerjee, who had represented the Indian Football team in many international matches, is now the Trinamool Congress MP from Howrah Lok Sabha constituency. He had gone to Paris in 1998, along with actor Mithun Chakravarty to watch World Cup matches. Stating that CPI(M) leaders had never helped him go to watch World Cup matches for supporting Mamata Banerjee, though he had represented India in international matches, he said: "I had taken loan from bank to go to watch the match in France. I still recollect those days and want that people, mainly children and youth, from all sections of the society, can watch the World Cup matches. So, giant screens will be set up where thousands of people will come together to watch the matches." A giant screen will be set up at ward number 25 of the Howrah Municipal Corporation (HMC) in Central Howrah, where people will come together to watch the semi-finals and final matches. The MP, who is a supporter of Brazil, will also be doing the commentary to explain every move of the game. At the same time, there will be arrangements for tea and snacks as well.
Jerseys will also be distributed and the local youths will put on the same while watching the matches.
Similarly, Brazil, Argentina and Germany are the favourite teams in the World Cup for Dipendu Biswas, Trinamool Congress MLA from Basirhat Dakshin. He has also taken steps so that people can come together and watch matches on giant screens, that will be set up somewhere in his constituency.
The other MPs and MLAs of Trinamool Congress, though not sports personalities, are also taking steps to celebrate the football world cup with people from all walks of life.