Kolkata, Apr 5 (Calcutta Tube / IBNS) Former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly has written to the Election Commission (EC) to relieve him from poll promos in West Bengal.
“Sourav has written to the Election Commission seeking relief from the promo, and the commission giving respect to his emotions and sentiment, has decided not to carry the advertisement,” EC Director-General (Information, Education and Communication) Akshay Routh told reporters on Tuesday here.
“As there is a complaint by a major political party that he has political affiliation and cannot be an ambassador of the EC which resulted in a controversy, Sourav has expressed unhappiness and has requested the commission not to use him as brand ambassador,” Routh said.
He said: “We have decided to withdraw Sourav only to give respect to Sourav’s emotions. We can use him for a different purpose.”
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) had complained to the Election Commission over using Ganguly for its poll promos in Bengal saying that he is affiliated to their Left opponents.
The EC had picked Ganguly and percussionist Bickram Ghosh to feature in its audio-visual campaigns to be aired on television channels in attempts to encourage people to come out and vote.
However, West Bengal’s Urban Development Minister Ashok Bhattacharya, who belongs to the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), subsequently announced that Ganguly would campaign for them, media reports said.
According to local media reports, Ganguly on earlier occasions too had made his siding with the communist parties apparent.
Disgruntled by the conflict of interest, the TMC complained to the EC, sending them a compact disc with recordings of Minister Bhattacharya and Ganguly, said reports on Wednesday.
Additional Chief Electoral Officer N K Sahana in Kolkata was quoted as saying that the EC had taken a verbal assurance from Ganguly that we won’t campaign for any political party. A decision over the matter is due Thursday post a review of the recordings, he said.
West Bengal goes to vote from Apr 18, in six phases with the Left parties facing off the TMC and Congress alliance.