The Bangladesh Deputy High Commission in Calcutta on Tuesday asked a popular Bangladeshi actor Ferdous Ahmed to go back to Dhaka immediately after media reports of the actor allegedly campaigning for a Trinamool Congress candidate in Raiganj parliamentary constituency.
Reports suggested Ahmed, who has worked in a number of Bengali films, was seen participating in a roadshow along with Tollywood actors Ankush and Payal for Trinamool candidate Kanhaiyalal Agarwal.
On Tuesday, the Union Home Ministry sought a report from the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) if Ferdous had the requisite permission to participate in election campaigning following protests by BJP.
“We have called up Ferdous over phone and instructed him to return to Bangladesh immediately,” a senior official at the Deputy High Commission of Bangladesh in Calcutta told Outlook.
The BJP has complained to the Election Commission against the actor and the Trinamool Congress for engaging a foreign national in election campaigning.
The Bangladeshi actor is in India on a working visa and has been shooting for a film in Raiganj, a source in the Deputy High Commission of Bangladesh in Calcutta said.
“We are trying to find out how Ferdous participated in an election rally in India,” the official said.
After the roadshow, Ferdous allegedly took to stage at an election rally in Islampur, about 470km north of Calcutta, on the India-Bangladesh border, and even asked crowd to vote for Trinamool Congress and Mamata Banerjee.
The BJP said that participation of a foreign national in election campaign is a sheer violation of the Model Code of Conduct, while accusing the Trinamool Congress of trying to consolidate minority votes.
Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh wondered if the TMC doesn't have anyone from India to campaign, asking will (Mamata) Banerjee invite Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to campaign for her party.
The Trinamool had finished third in the constituency in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, as Communist Party of India (Marxist)'s Mohammed Salim wrested the seat with a narrow margin of nearly 1,850 votes over Congress. Raiganj will go to polls on April 18, in the second phase of polling.