Kolkata: Bangladesh has asked actor Ferdous Ahmed to return to his country after a controversy erupted in West Bengal over him campaigning for the state's ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC).
The Deputy High Commission for Bangladesh has asked him not to take part in the election campaign in India and return back, news agency IANS reports. He has also been asked to resume his shooting in Bangladesh after the election season gets over, an official at the Bangladeshi mission said.
Over the weekend, Ahmed was seen campaigning for TMC candidate Kanhaiyalal Agarwal, who is fighting the election from Raigunj constituency. He also participated in a roadshow, accompanied by other Tollywood actors and later, he addressed an election campaign and said, "All should vote for the Trinamool Congress. All should vote for didi."
"Based on media reports, he was asked whether he participated in the campaign or not. Ahmed told us that he was there for the purpose of shooting and had participated in the (ongoing Lok Sabha election) campaign. It was not a right thing to take part in the election as a foreign national. He was asked to go back," IANS quoted a Bangladeshi mission official as saying.
"We have also suggested to him that he should resume his shooting activities after the election season gets over," the official added.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) strongly opposed Ahmed's participation in the TMC election campaign and moved Election Commission to file a complaint against the party. They claimed that the participation of a foreign national in an election campaign flouts the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).
However, EC said that the MCC doesn`t specifically state anything about a foreign national canvassing for any political party.
On Tuesday, State BJP leaders Jay Prakash Majumdar and Sisir Bajoria met Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ariz Aftab in Kolkata over the campaign row and demanded his arrest.
"We understand that foreign nationals can't participate in electioneering process in India. When TMC is using Bangladeshi nationals (actor Ferdous) for campaigning, they are breaking the rules. He should be arrested for breach of visa rules," Majumdar said.
BJP's JP Majumdar in Kol after meeting EC:We understand that foreign nationals can't participate in electioneering process in India.When TMC is using Bangladeshi nationals (actor Ferdous) for campaigning, they are breaking the rules. He should be arrested for breach of visa rules pic.twitter.com/ggepOcoiru
— ANI (@ANI) April 16, 2019
On the other hand, TMC maintained that there is "no violation of the model code" if Ahmed participated in the campaign.
"I don't know whether the actor participated in the rally or was invited by the candidate. But I don't think there is any violation of the model code. The code says a foreigner cannot be a candidate but I think there is no harm if anybody participates in campaigning. I don't see any violation of the MCC," TMC leader Madan Mitra said.
(With agencies inputs)