Kolkata: The ruling Trinamool Congress on Sunday sprung a surprise by engaging Bangladeshi actor Ferdous to campaign for its Lok Sabha candidate Kanaia Lal Agarwal from Raiganj in North Dinajpur district.
Speaking to News18, an election agent of Agarwal, Musharraf Hussain, said, “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.”
He said, “Today, Ferdous, along with Tollywood actors Payel Sarkar and Ankush, participated in road shows in Raiganj and Hemtabad. On April 15, he will campaign in Karandighi and Islampur. Today, the response was excellent. We are expecting a good crowd on Monday, as well.”
In three of the six seats in north Bengal, Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee has fielded candidates who have either joined the party recently or switched from other political parties. For example, Agarwal left the Congress and joined ruling camp in March.
BJP’s Bengal president Dilip Ghosh said, “How can an Indian-registered political party engage a foreign national (Ferdous) for political road shows in West Bengal. I have never heard this before. It seems the party doesn’t have an Indian star for canvassing. Tomorrow, Banerjee will invite Pakistan Prime Minister Imaran Khan to campaign for the TMC. We condemn this as a Bangladeshi film star should not be a part of India’s biggest democratic festival.”
He said, “By engaging a Bangladeshi actor, the ruling party is trying to woo the nearly 50% Muslims voters in North Dinajpur. The Trinamool is scared of us and hence, bringing foreign actors here.”
It was learnt Ferdous would leave for his country after the rallies on Monday.
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%).
With about 2.47 crore minorities or 27.5% of the total population of the state, Bengal is home to the second-highest number of Muslims in India.
The community was a key supporter of the Left Front till Banerjee came to power and managed to bring them on her side by taking the Sachar Committee report to them which ranked Bengal as one of the worst states for Muslims to live in.
Banerjee convinced them that the Left did nothing for them and it was only the Trinamool Congress which would give them a direction towards prosperity.