37-year-old Bhutia's name was doing the rounds for the Darjeeling hills seat from quite a long time.
This year in January, he was quoted by the TOI as saying, "Good and clean governance is the need of the hour, I feel the CM and TMC are the right people taking the state in that direction. I endorse what they stand for. I am close to the CM since I feel she represents freedom from corruption."
On politically-disturbed Darjeeling, he had said, "For years, Darjeeling region has been ignored. There has been virtually no development due to decades of political unrest. This has scared off investors. It is high time this changed," he said.
Last year in December, in an interview to the Business Standard, Bhutia, had praised Mamata Banerjee by saying, "Mamata Banerjee is one of the cleanest politicians in the country at this moment. She has been the right ambassador for the state and she has been doing her job very well."
"We have seen the state doing well under Mamata Banerjee and she has been a phenomenon", he added.
Nepali- speaking Bhutia, who hails from Sikkim, is a soccer star and retired from his football career in 2011. With Bhutia's immense popularity, Mamata Banerjee- led TMC government may be able to garner huge votes from Darjeeling, from where Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) calls the shots.