Cricketer Manoj Tiwary recently joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and was named the Shibpur constituency’s party’s candidate on Friday Howrah.
In a conversation with Timesofindia.com, Tiwary, who grew up in Howrah, speaks about his decision to join TMC, why he is against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government at the center and its frustration with celebrities who speak out for no reason.
How did that happen?
I try to be real in life and think practical. I am 35 years old. As good as I am, I won’t get a chance (nationally) because when I performed very well, I didn’t get any chances even then.
So when you are injured and you don’t get a chance, start thinking naturally.
CM Mamata Banerjee came up to me and said you have to fight the elections. I came to TMC because of her. That’s why I chose politics because there is a lot that can be done for society outside of cricket. My goal now is to win the election and serve the people.
Have you received offers from other parties?
I received an offer from BJP. It actually came before TMC’s offer. But I joined TMC because my ideology doesn’t match BJP’s. BJP couldn’t handle things in the embargo.
Many people died. Even in the protest of the peasants … I don’t support the raising of the flag at the Red Fort, but I don’t think if you’re in the government you shouldn’t let things get this far.
You should have the ability to solve problems.
Very little value is given to a person’s life in India. Therefore, people do not pay attention to how many migrant workers and farmers die in this country.
They tell me that if a Sonu Sood can do so much on its own, why can’t the government?
If they wanted, they could have done it. When I see all of these things, I get really angry. The way things are going now is not right. All of this led me to join the party that works at the base in Bengal, which is TMC.
The kind of politics they do [BJP] do i dont like it. They make people argue over religion. I can’t be part of it. They make Hindu Muslims every time before the elections to get to power.
The Jai Shri Ram that is going on here, if there is a clash tomorrow because of this slogan and 50-100 people die in it, who would be responsible? I am a non-bengali and a hindu. I respect and pray to all gods.
What made you sign up in TMC?
Mamatadi is an inspiration and I think there is no better politician than her. She works for the poor. It is connected to the ground. She has conducted many programs for the benefit of the people. I don’t think BJP can win in Bengal.
Manoj Tiwary waves to the crowd at a rally with CM Mamata Banerjee after joining TMC in Hooghly on February 24th. (ANI)
BJP came to power after lying and cheating on people. When I saw all of this, the choice of TMC was very clear to me. Other parties are not relevant in Bengal.
I would have come to BJP if everyone got the promised Rs 15 lakh. If the (BJP) government had worked on the lockdown like Sonu Sood, I would have come to BJP.
During your career in cricket you made your own picture of a rebel. How could you work in a political party?
I just joined the party. I should understand the dynamics of the party, the inner workings and the system. I would try to ponder the broader points while keeping my goal of joining politics in mind.
But I can’t change my soul I will try to find a solution to whatever happens. I will think and then speak. Every problem has a solution.
What are the problems you can face at a party? The only problem you face is your hands are tied in a party. But there are ways to break up. If I’m not allowed to work, I’ll try to find the reason to talk to people. If I don’t like it, I always have the option to leave.
I wanted to ask you about a tweet you wrote a few weeks ago that said, “When I was a kid, I never saw a puppet show. It took me 35 years to see one.” If you could tell us about it.
[Laughs] This came after Rihana’s tweet about the farmers’ protest.
I believe internal affairs should stay in the country. There are no two options.
But I wrote my tweet because I saw some people adopt the “yes man” strategy in order to live their lives. As soon as I saw it, I felt bad.
When I was a kid I never saw a puppet show. It took me 35 years to see a 😊 https://t.co/AMCGIZMfGN
– MANIJ TIWARY (@tiwarymanoj) 1612426942000
In just 10 minutes, everyone started doing the same thing. I think God gave us a platform and a stage. You should be using it to help people. Whenever problems arise in our country where you have to raise your voice, I see everyone becoming one bheegi billi.
But wherever they see an opportunity for me to get praise and help from the government, they do it.
You don’t think about the peasants who committed suicide. I urge these people to think about them too. I urge them to write about our migrant workers who died on railroad tracks. I have a problem with this yes-man culture.
You’ve talked about it before in cricket …
I suffered a lot for it. I’m not particularly pointing out anyone, but I have a feeling that everyone wants to play it safe these days.
If you can’t speak on all topics and just keep talking on a specific topic, don’t say that either. What is the need? I feel that. That’s why I got very angry.
You said you don’t expect any more chances at the national level …
The current Indian team is very strong. There are a place or two that there might be an opening in the future. Even if that opens up, it won’t be open to me.
Do you think that you are also a victim of the age limit? That Indian selectors don’t usually pick anyone after they go over 30?
That’s an excuse for people who don’t like them. I speak openly. Has something good happened to people telling the truth? Do people have anything else besides the love of people? The people in power go out of their way to bother you when you say something.
In the 2021 general election in West Bengal, in which teammates and colleagues had to compete against Ashok Dinda (R) and Manoj Tiwary (L) for a long time, former Indian fast bowlers BJP competed at BJP hours after Tiwary joined TMC.
Are you still thinking about these things, your career, or have you moved on?
It definitely hurts to watch the games. The one who says they’re not hurt is definitely lying [laughs].
Kharab lagta hai toh lagta hai bhai. Bare Saath Hua Hai Bura.
Have you ever heard someone score a hundred, get a man of the game, and then sit 14 games on the bench? That’s 14 games in six months. Why wasn’t I allowed to play? Does anyone have an answer to this question to this day? Nobody was able to answer this.
You did not enter that IPL Auction this year …
Yes, I did not enter. My [ligament] Injury is the reason for this. I actually filled out the forms, but then withdrew my name because this violation would last for some time [to heal]. You cannot hide your injury and go to auction that is not fit. I don’t want to do that.
But you still want to play IPL, don’t you?
We will see. For now, all I know is that I have to fight and win the election.