Kolkata: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Mukul Roy on Monday wondered how a foreign celebrity could be a part of an election campaign or road shows in West Bengal.
Roy’s reaction came after the Trinamool Congress engaged Bangladeshi actor Ferdous to campaign for its Lok Sabha candidate Kanaia Lal Agarwal from Raiganj in North Dinajpur district.
On Monday, Ferdous campaigned in the Karandighi and Chakulia areas of North Dinajpur, while on Sunday, he participated in road shows at Raiganj and Hemtabad along with Tollywood actors Payel Sarkar and Ankush.
He will leave for Bangladesh on Tuesday.
Speaking to News18, Roy said, “This is a serious matter. This is a violation of the Model Code of Conduct and our Constitution. I am taking this matter to the Election Commission (EC) with a demand that the candidature of the Trinamool candidate be immediately cancelled.”
“I would also like to ask the Trinamool why it needs a Bangladeshi actor to campaign for its party leaders in Bengal. I have never heard this before in my political career. Today, they brought Bangladeshi actor Ferdous, tomorrow someone will bring Donald Trump… It’s a joke going around. The EC should look into the matter seriously,” he added.
Senior Principal Secretary in the EC KF Wilfred said, “There is no such specific rule, but we need to look in to his (Ferdous’) purpose of visit when he applied for visa. No foreign national, under any circumstances, would be allowed to enter India to participate in political campaigns/road shows. Follow-up in such cases can only be done if someone comes forward with a complaint.”
Additional state Chief Electoral Officer Sanjay Basu said, “No mention on this issue has been made in the EC rule-book.”
Agarwal’s election agent, Musharraf Hussain, had said on Sunday, “Ferdous is a famous actor in Bangladesh and we requested him to take part in road shows for the Trinamool Congress in the Lok Sabha election. He agreed.”
Muslim voters would play a deciding role in the general election for all the parties in Bengal, especially in the districts of Murshidabad, Dinajpur and Malda.
While in Kolkata, the minority community occupies 22% of the population, in Murshidabad, it is nearly 67%, followed by Malda (52%) and North Dinajpur (51%).