Row over Bangladeshi actor campaigning for TMC in West Bengal
Kolkata: A controversy has erupted in West Bengal after popular Bangladeshi actor Ferdous Ahmed campaigned for the state's ruling TMC, prompting the BJP to lodge a complaint with the Election Commission claiming it violated the model code of conduct.
State BJP leaders Jay Prakash Majumdar and Sisir Bajoria met the state's Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ariz Aftab and urged him to take appropriation action over the alleged violation of the model code.
A video showing Ferdous and Bengali actors Ankush and Payal participating in a roadshow to seek votes for Trinamool Congress candidate for Raiganj Lok Sabha seat Kanhaiyalal Agarwal on Sunday has gone viral on social media.
The BJP leaders met Aftab on Monday to register their complaint.
"We believe that it is a compeletely illegal move executed intentionally. This is a proof of the TMC's bankrupt politics," the Majumdar, the state BJP vice president, said.
He wanted to know how a Bangladeshi national visiting the country on a tourist visa could campaign for a candidate, and alleged that the actor was brought it to polarise minority voters in the constituency.
"All should vote for the Trinamool Congress. All should vote for didi (TMC chief Mamata Banerjee)," Ferdous was claimed to have told voters while sharing the dais with Agarwal.
When reached by PTI for comments, Agarwal said he had no knowledge of the actor canvassing for him.
"I have no knowledge about this (Ferdous campaigning for him). I have only two star campaigners Mamata Banerjee and Suvendu Adhikary. I have participated in Mamata's two rallies and today I took part in a roadshow in Islampur where Suvendu Adhikary was present," Agarwal said.
Senior TMC leader and former state minister Madan Mitra was dismissive about the violation of the model code because of a Bangladeshi national campaigning in an election in India.
"I don't know whether the actor participated in the rally or was invited by the candidate. But I don't think there is any violation of the model code. The code says a foreigner cannot be a candidate but I think there is no harm if anybody participates in campaigning. I don't see any violation of the MCC," Mitra said.
When approached for comments, a senior official at the CEO's office tersely said the matter is being looked into.