Bangladeshi actor caught campaigning, sent home

Published : April 17, 2019 12:25 IST

The popular Bangladeshi actor Ferdous Ahmed found himself embroiled in a controversy after he was caught campaigning for the Trinamool Congress in the Raiganj Lok Sabha constituency in north Bengal. Ferdous, who was on a business visa, was apparently shooting for a film near Raiganj when he was requested to take time out to campaign for the Trinamool candidate Kanaia Lal Agarwal. After receiving a report on the actor’s violation of visa rules, the Ministry of Home Affairs cancelled his visa and asked him to leave the country. He has also been blacklisted for future entry into India. Raiganj shares its border with Bangladesh, and the Trinamool was hoping to utilise Ferdous’s celebrity status in the region to woo voters. However, the latest development has proved to be an embarrassment for the ruling party. The Trinamool candidate was quick to distance himself from the episode, claiming that he had no knowledge of Ferdous campaigning for him. However, a video recording of the actor campaigning for the Trinamool has been in circulation on social media and has even been shown in several television news channels.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, which fancies its chances of winning in this constituency, has tried to make the most of the situation politically. “This move by the Trinamool betrays their sense of desperation. They know they are going to lose here, so they are bringing in foreign actors to campaign for them. This has only made our position stronger, as it served to polarise votes in our favour,” Biswajit Lahiri, BJP general secretary of Raiganj told Frontline.

The BJP’s hopes of winning this seat lie in the polarisation of Hindu votes in its favour and the division of the Muslim votes between the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Congress and the Trinamool. While both the Congress and the CPI(M) have fielded heavyweight candidates Deepa Das Munshi and Polit Bureau member Md. Salim respectively, the BJP’s candidate is the general secretary of the State BJP, Deboshree Chaudhary.

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