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. Also Read - Earthquake Measuring 4.0 on Richter Scale Jolts India-Nepal Border, Tremors Felt in Sikkim

“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. Also Read - BREAKING: Earthquake of Magnitude 4.8 Jolts Yuksom in Sikkim

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. Also Read - Border Standoff in Ladakh, Sikkim Will Inevitably Have Repercussions on India-China Ties: Jaishankar

“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.