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Court cases, police action cast shadow of uncertainty over Bengal LS candidates (Dangal 2019)

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IANS Kolkata
As the General Election whirlwind across the country gets stronger by the day, court hurdles, police cases, Election Commission notices and faux pas are landing a number of Lok Sabha candidates in West Bengal in a tight spot ahead of the polls.
While an aspiring MP has been barred by the court from entering his own constituency due to a number of criminal cases against him, another has been flayed by the EC for making provocative statements about the role of the central forces.
Another candidate, an actress turned politician, has recently grabbed the headlines for her gaffe about a specific community during a public meeting.
A former Trinamool Congress MP, Saumitra Khan, who has been fielded from Bankura district's Bishnupur constituency by the Bharatiya Janata Party, has been barred from entering the district for six weeks by Calcutta High Court due to ongoing criminal cases against him.
Khan, who is apprehending arrest in three cases, was, however, granted interim and conditional anticipatory bail by the High Court in one of the cases last month.
After Khan joined the BJP, the three criminal cases were lodged against him in three different police stations of Bankura.
In the first case, three complaints were lodged by three separate persons - two by local youths and the other by the Bankura Trinamool Congress president - alleging that during his tenure as an MP, Khan had received Rs 3 lakh from each of them for promising them jobs as assistant teachers in state-aided schools in Bankura.
The second complaint related to illegal lifting of sand from the Kangshabati riverbank and selling it to various traders, while the Bankura town police lodged the third case alleging an unlicensed revolver was recovered from his home when the police raided it last month.
The court order has virtually restricted the candidate from campaigning in his constituency till May 8. The poll will be held in Binshnupur on May 12.
Veteran actress and Trinamool Congress nominee from Asansol Lok Sabha constituency Moon Moon Sen stirred a controversy earlier this week by terming the Bihari population in Bengal as "good police informers" while campaigning at a party meeting in Amritnagar in her constituency.
"Biharis who used to work as informers of Kolkata police had good reputation. Earlier, they were seen wearing dhotis and kurtas, sitting in police jeeps, but this is missing now. As a result, police officers face problems," she had said.
The comment stunned the locals in the colliery belt of Asansol, that has a considerable non-Bengali, particularly Bihari, population.
Sitting MP and BJP candidate Union Minister Babul Supriyo was quick to pounce on her faux pas. He took to the social media to condemn the "derogatory remark" and said such comments show the true colours of the Trinamool Congress.
Though the local Trinamool leaders stepped in for damage control, the party has so far made no official statement on this issue.
Meanwhile, a seasoned politician and BJP contestant from North 24 Parganas district's Basithat raised many eyebrows when he asked the central forces to shoot people in the chest if they tried to capture booths on the polling day.
The BJP leader also threatened to confine the state police at the pollce station accusing them of working for the state's ruling regime at every given opportunity.
"On the day of the election, if you come to capture polling booths, ...I will tell the CRPF that the bullet should hit your chest, and not your legs," Basu thundered at one of his public meetings in the minority dominated constituency, which saw communal tension in 2017.
He warned that there would be so much "excesses" that the miscreants "will not go running, but return lying on the bed...We will make such arrangements."
The Election Commission has sought a report while local police have registered a suo-motu case against the leader for his inflammatory comments.
The chances of medical practitioner and Congress turncoat Rezaul Karim to contest in the 2019 polls have become doubtful after his resignation was not accepted by the state health department.
It has been noted that a departmental inquiry is on against Karim, contesting on a CPI-M ticket from Birbhum Lok Sabha seat, for taking part in a rally a few months back.
(Milinda Ghosh Roy can be reached at milinda.r@ians.in)
--IANS
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First Published: Mar 30 2019 | 1:06 PM IST

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