Kolkata, March 22;
In a major embarrassment, the BJP was on Sunday forced to replace actor-turned-politician Roopa Ganguly as its candidate for the Kolkata civil polls after her name did not feature in the city electoral rolls.
Projected as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s face for the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) polls, Ganguly did not qualify to contest as the law decrees that a candidate has to be enrolled as a voter in the city civic elections.
On Sunday, she was replaced with another actor-turned-politician Sarbari Mukherjee.
Announcing Mukherjee’s candidature, West Bengal BJP president Rahul Sinha blamed the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress for the fiasco.
“The (state) Election Commission has infringed upon her (Ganguly’s) legal right and this happened only because of the interference of the Trinamool. We strongly condemn this,” he said.
Ganguly, who gained cult status playing Draupadi in the television series “Mahabharat”, was named from Ward 96. However, she is enrolled as a voter in Sonarpur-Rajpur of South 24 Parganas district where her parents live.
The West Bengal Municipal Elections Act, 1994, debars any candidate who is not a voter of the municipality, from contesting the polls.
The BJP’s last ditch efforts to argue Ganguly’s case with the state poll panel did not yield any result and Monday being the last day for filing of nominations for the April 18 polls, the party was forced to announce another candidate.
Admitting that she was not aware about the laws, Ganguly said her name was deleted from the electoral list as she had maintained distance from the Trinamool.
“I am not a politician. It’s my fault that I was not aware about the laws. The party is not to be blamed. I may not contest the polls but I will be there for the party and all its candidates,” she said.