Senior Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Ashok Bhattacharya on Sunday claimed that Board of Control for Cricket in India President Sourav Ganguly, who underwent angioplasty after a mild heart attack on Saturday, was being forced to join politics, reported PTI. Ganguly was admitted to a Kolkata hospital on Saturday. His condition is now stable.

“Some people wanted to use Ganguly politically,” Bhattacharya said. “That probably exerted pressure on him. He is not a political element. He should be known as Sourav the sporting icon.” The politician is a longtime family friend of the former Indian cricketer.

Ganguly was diagnosed with three blocked coronary arteries on Saturday, following which a stent was inserted in one to remove the blockage. Doctors said they will be deciding on conducting another angioplasty after assessing Ganguly’s condition. A hospital spokesperson said the medical board was not thinking about the option of bypass surgery.

Bhattacharya on Sunday said that Ganguly should not be pressurised into joining politics, reported PTI. “I had told Sourav last week he should not join politics and he did not oppose my views,” he added.

In response to the CPI(M) leader’s comments, Bharatiya Janata Party’s West Bengal unit chief Dilip Ghosh said that “some people see politics in everything due to their sick mindset”. Ghosh said that the saffron party wished for Ganguly’s speedy recovery, just like millions of his fans.

Senior Trinamool Congress leader and West Bengal minister Sobhandeb Chatterjee, who went for a hospital visit, said that the party had never made any efforts to induct Ganguly. “We are proud to have him as the icon of sports,” he said.

Among others who visited the former India team captain were West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Saturday.

Ganguly, who captained India till 2005 during which he led the team to a World Cup final, took over as the BCCI president in October 2019.