Gangtok, Jun 8 (PTI) Ace footballer and and co-founder of Hamro Sikkim Party (HSP), Bhaichung Bhutia today charged the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) being led by chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling for being a monarchy.

“Chamling (67) has been the SDF president ever since the party was founded in 1993…What is it if it is not a monarchy?” he told reporters after inaugurating his party office at Deorali.

Hitting out at the chief minister and his senior party colleagues for making fun of his new outfit saying that a team cannot perform without a captain, Bhutia said that it was not for the SDF to worry about how HSP has to be run.

“We will decide on the issue of our party president when the time comes,” the former India football captain said.

He claimed that the HSP has make a great start in political arena of Sikkim and given hope to the people that they can have a true democratic system in the Himalayan state if they back a party which believes in democratic principles within the organization and in public life.

The SDF and HSP leadership have been locked in a bitter war of words even since the new party was formally launched in Sikkim on May 31.

Bhutia had accused the chief minister of being a “dictator”, “corrupt” and “communal” during his maiden speech at Daramdin in West Sikkim on the day of launch of HSP.

Bhutia is a vice president of HSP.

The SDF yesterday hit back at Bhutia, dubbing his attack on chief minister last week as baseless.

“Bhaichung Bhutia has been a legendary footballer, but he is behaving like a ‘Shikhandi’ (a negative character of the epic ‘Mahabharata’) by firing from the back of those forces inimical to peace and tranquility in Sikkim,” SDF’s senior spokesperson Bhim Dahal has said .

Dahal also brushed aside any challenge from Bhutia’s party saying a team has no chance in a game if it does not have a captain.

“Bhaichung, who had captained India and various club teams for long, should know the importance of a captain in a team game, but the former India international has forgotten the basic rule and launched a regional party without a captain,” Dahal has said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.