The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Tuesday sought a report from the Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO) after Bangladeshi actor Ferdous Ahmed was seen at a road show TMC held while campaigning for the 2019 elections.
The FRRO in Kolkata has been asked to send a detailed report on whether Ahmed violated visa conditions by allegedly participating in poll campaigning.
Ahmed, according to The Indian Express, campaigned for TMC‘s Raigan Lok Sabha candidate Kanhaiya Lal Agarwal in North Dinajpur district.
Agarwal’s election agent Musharraf Hussain told News18 that Ferdous is a famous actor in Bangladesh and they requested him to take part in road shows for the Trinamool Congress in the Lok Sabha election. “He agreed.”
Violation of model code of conduct?
Soon after Ferdous did a roadshow, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) cried foul and accused the TMC of violating the model code of conduct.
“How can a foreign national (Ferdous) campaign for TMC. Tomorrow, they will invite Pakistan Prime Minister Imran 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. The TMC is scared of us and hence bringing foreign actors here,” West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.
The BJP has also approached the Election Commission to look into the matter. BJP leader Mukul Roy also termed it a violation of the model code of conduct and demanded that the candidature of the TMC candidate be cancelled, according to another News18 report.
State BJP leaders Jay Prakash Majumdar and Sisir Bajoria met the state’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ariz Aftab and urged him to take appropriate action over the alleged violation of the model code.
“We believe that it is a completely illegal move executed intentionally. This is a proof of the TMC’s bankrupt politics,” Majumdar said.
Agarwal told PTI that 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 Principal Secretary in the Election Commission KF Wilfred told News18 that there is no such specific rule, but they need to look into 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.”
(With PTI inputs)