Leander Paes, Nafisa Ali join Trinamool Congress

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Tennis veteran Leander Paes and actor Nafisa Ali joined Trinamool Congress Party in presence of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee here on Friday.

Welcoming Paes (48) during a press conference, Banerjee recalled meeting Paes when the Olympic bronze medal winner was a teenager.

I was the sports minister of the country when I (first) met him, she said. I have got my younger brother and sweet and cute brother in the TMC, she added.

Paes told reporters that having retired from tennis, he wants to serve the people through the vehicle of politics to make a difference to country.

He said he had met Banerjee when he was 14 and she was the sports minister.

She was very encouraging and supportive. It enabled me as a young boy to embark on this game. I have travelled the world for the last 30 years playing for the country. I have retired from tennis and would like to get the guidance from the powerful young lady (Banerjee), he said.

Paes, who won the bronze medal at the 1996 Olympic Games and is widely regarded as one of the most accomplished doubles players in the world, said he wants to make a difference in the lives of the people.

Didi is a lady of her words. She is a true champion, he added.

Nafisa Ali, who won the Femina Miss India title in 1976 and was the second runner-up at the Miss International contest, had contested the 2004 Lok Sabha elections from South Kolkata against Banerjee.

Goa-based entrepreneur Mrinalini Deshprabhu also joined the party in the presence of TMC MP Derek O’Brien.

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