TMC files complaint against BJP for using Khali in poll campaign
Kolkata: Trinamool Congress has written to the Election Commission of India (ECI), protesting against BJP for engaging wrestler the Great Khali during an election campaign in favour of Anupam Hazra, who is contesting from the Jadavpur Lok Sabha seat on the saffron party's ticket.
A complaint lodged with the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) raised questions on how a foreign national can take part election campaign for Hazra. The complaint also alleged that BJP is trying to influence the electors by using Khali, who is a national of the United States of America. The wrestler campaigned for Hazra on April 26.
"He (Khali) holds a US citizenship. Therefore, a foreigner shouldn't be allowed to influence the minds of Indian electors," reads the complaint.
The complaint also says; "Dalip Singh Rana, who is known by the name the Great Khali, was seen campaigning for Anupam Hazra, the BJP candidate from Jadavpur. He was seen campaigning from an open top jeep on the streets of Jadavpur. Rana is not an Indian citizen and holds citizenship under the United States of America. BJP is using Rana's celebrity status to misguide Indian voters."
It is also mentioned in the complaint that Khali gave an interview saying that he would be present for Hazra whenever he would be called in. "I have specially come from America to support my younger brother. He is filing his nomination papers. I want to request everyone to cast their votes for him. Do not waste your votes. Anupam is a learned man and he knows your troubles and will be able to serve you better than anyone else," Khali was quoted in the complaint.
During his campaign, Hazra said that Khali is a popular global youth icon and many of his supporters had requested him to do something exceptional. Hence, he thought it was a unique platform to bring in the popular wrestler.
The letter alleged that BJP is desperate to win the elections by any means possible. In this case, utilising the help of a non-citizen who has no information about the intricacies of Indian politics or what may be the best option for the Indian electors.
Trinamool urged the Election Commission to take action against the BJP candidate in this regard. Additional CEO Sanjay Basu said that they have received the complaint and an inquiry is being conducted into the incident. "We will comment on the issue after we receive a report in this regard," he added.