Kolkata, April 28, 2019 –
The Election Commission (EC) is enquiring into a complaint lodged by West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress that wrestler Khali — also known by his real name Dalip Singh Rana — should not be allowed to campaign for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as he is a US citizen.
The wrestler, better known as “The Great Khali”, had on Friday joined the campaign of Anupam Hazra, the BJP candidate from Jadavpur Lok Sabha constituency.
On Saturday, the Trinamool complained to the Election Commission of India as well as the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), pointing out Khali’s citizenship and accusing the BJP of using a foreigner to influence the Indian voters. The complaint also alleged that the BJP was using the wrestler’s celebrity status to misguide the voters.
Asked about the complaint, Additional Chief Electoral Officer of the state, Sanjay Basu, said: “We have received the complaint and have sent it for an enquiry.”
Regarding the commission’s rules in place regarding the participation of a person in poll campaign who was born in India but held a foreign citizenship, Basu said: “This is an explanatory matter and it will be clarified after the enquiry.”
Donning a saffron coloured t-shirt, the seven-feet tall Khali hit the streets on an open top jeep accompanying Hazra as the latter filed his nomination on Friday.
“To me, friendship is bigger than the party. I have come from America to support my younger brother (Hazra). He is filing his nomination. I want to request you not to waste votes but to cast them for him so that he can raise his voice for you in the Parliament,” the wrestler had said.
Hazra, who had won from the Bolpur Lok Sabha constituency on a Trinamool ticket in 2014, is contesting against Trinamool nominee and Bengali actress Mimi Chakrobarty, while the CPI-M has fielded eminent lawyer and former city Mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya from Jadavpur.
Khali was an employee of Punjab Police before embarking on his professional wrestling career. He became popular after defeating “The Undertaker” as part of the WWE, a professional wrestling show in the US. (Agency)