Now, TMC complains about wrestler Khali campaigning for BJP nominee
Rana had on April 26 participated in a road show for his “friend” Anupam Hazra, the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate in Bengal’s Jadavpur Lok Sabha constituency in Kolkata’s southern suburbs.Updated: Apr 29, 2019 07:49 IST
The Trinamool Congress has lodged a complaint against professional wrestler Dalip Singh Rana, better known as The Great Khali, saying that Rana is a citizen of the United States and cannot campaign in elections in Bengal.
Rana had on April 26 participated in a road show for his “friend” Anupam Hazra, the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate in Bengal’s Jadavpur Lok Sabha constituency in Kolkata’s southern suburbs.
In a letter to Bengal’s chief electoral officer (CEO), TMC counsel Sanjay Basu said on Saturday that Rana was not an Indian citizen and a foreigner should not be allowed to influence the minds of Indian voters as he has little or no knowledge as to who should be an appropriate MP in India.
“The BJP is using Mr. Rana’s celebrity status to misguide Indian voters,” read the letter, copies of which were sent to the ECI and the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in New Delhi.
“Since the complaint has been sent to ECI in Delhi we will wait for instructions,” an officer at the Bengal CEO’s office said on Sunday on condition of anonymity.
Although of Indian origin, Rana became a US citizen in February 2014. The matter was widely reported by the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and other sports media.
The row over Rana comes in less than 12 days of the MHA taking stern action against two Bangladeshi actors who campaigned for the TMC in Bengal.
Bangladeshi actor Ghazi Abdul Noor, who attended a rally in West Bengal, was asked to leave India on April 18. Shortly before that, another famous Bangladeshi actor, Firdous Ahmed was also served a ‘Leave India’ notice on the same ground on April 16. Noor was in fact staying in India despite the expiry of his visa. He was seen at a road show organised in support of TMC’s Dum Dum candidate Saugata Roy.
BJP national secretary and candidate from the Kolkata North seat, Rahul Sinha, refused to comment. “I have no idea whether the road show was arranged by the party. You should ask the candidate,” said Sinha.
On April 26, Hazra, the outgoing Trinamool MP from Bolpur in Birbhum district, said at the road show that Rana was a “personal friend” and had promptly agreed to come to Kolkata. “I will come whenever he calls me,” Rana said on that day.