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Wife rallies forces after bar

Calcutta High Court entry curbs on Saumitra Khan prompt move

By Abhijeet Chatterjee in Bankura

  • Published 1.04.19, 1:16 AM
  • Updated 1.04.19, 1:16 AM
Sujata Khan campaigns in Bishnupur on Sunday.
Sujata Khan campaigns in Bishnupur on Sunday. Picture by Rupesh Khan

The wife of Saumitra Khan, the BJP candidate for the Bishnupur Lok Sabha seat in Bankura, on Sunday launched the campaign for her husband, standing in for him after he was barred from entering the district for six weeks by Calcutta High Court in connection with criminal cases.

In an order on March 27, the court asked Khan not to enter Bankura till May 8. Bankura goes to the polls on May 12.

Khan faces four criminal cases, related to alleged cheating, sand smuggling and offences under the arms act.

Earlier the Trinamul MP from Bishnupur, Khan was expelled after he joined the BJP this January. Trinamul has fielded MLA and minister Shyamal Santra in Bishnupur.

“My husband was framed in false cases by Trinamul to take revenge after he joined the BJP. I am not involved in direct politics but have taken up the responsibility to campaign for my husband as the court has barred him from the district,” Sujata Khan said at a rally in Borjora on Sunday.

Khan had sought anticipatory bail. He was granted bail in the sand and the arms cases but did not the get the relief in the cheating cases as the court felt that more investigations were required.

Three Bankura residents have accused Khan of collecting Rs 10 lakh from them by giving false assurance of jobs as assistant teachers in state-aided schools.

Khan himself campaigned on Sunday in East Burdwan’s Galsi, which falls under the Bishnupur seat. “I will appeal in the Supreme Court on Tuesday to enter my constituency and campaign myself. Trinamul is putting in all efforts to stop me.”

He said he would appeal to the Election Commission to make special arrangements for him to file his nomination since he cannot enter Bankura. “I am recording videos of my speeches and will distribute the CDs in Bankura. They will be screened at street-corner meetings.”

Khan said he would deliver speeches over mobile phones. “Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanathji had to deliver his speech over phone after his chopper was not allowed to land in north Bengal,” said Khan.

Trinamul leaders said Khan would not win.

“The people will not vote for a person with criminal charges. We have driven him out of the party and the court has barred him from Bankura,” Bankura Trinamul chief Arup Khan said.