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TMC leader lied about being Indian, is a Bangladeshi: Read how Court dismissed petition against 2021 election loss, tells EC to take action

A Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader named Alo Rani Sarkar, who contested the 2021 West Bengal State Legislative polls from the Bangaon Dakshin constituency, has turned out to be a Bangladeshi national.

The matter came to light after she moved the Calcutta High Court, challenging the election result and the victory of BJP leader Swapan Majumdar from the said constituency. The petition was heard by Justice Bibek Chaudhuri.

The Court noted that Alo Rani Sarkar was a Bangladeshi national on the date of filing the nomination, election date, and on the date of declaration of result. “From the face of the petitioner’s own document, it is found that the petitioner had no right to contest the assembly election of 2021,” it observed.

“As she is not a citizen of India, she shall not be qualified to be chosen to fill a seat in the legislature of a State in terms of Article 173 of the Constitution read with Section 16 of the Representation of People Act, 1950,” the Court emphasized.

Alo Rani Sarkar contested Vidhan Sabha polls despite her name in Bangladesh’s electoral rolls

The Calcutta High Court observed that the TMC leader was married to a Bangladeshi citizen named Harendra Nath Sarkar in 1980 and stayed with him in the neighboring country for a few years. Following matrimonial discord, she began staying in India permanently.

As per her own affidavit, she submitted an application for cancellation of her name from the electoral roll and National Identity Card (NIC) of Bangladesh on November 5, 2020. However, it was only on June 29, 2021, that the Senior District Election Officer (Barisal) recommended the deletion of Sarkar’s name from the electoral rolls of Bangladesh.

It may be recalled that the TMC leader had filed her nomination from the Bangaon Dakshin constituency on March 31, 2021. The voting was conducted on April 22, 2021, and the results were declared on May 2 of that year.

Thus, she was a Bangladeshi national while filing her nomination or casting her vote during the Vidhan Sabha polls. Given that ‘dual citizenship’ is not valid in India, it means that Alo Rani Sarkar was not an Indian citizen when she contested the polls as a TMC candidate.

TMC leader ‘lied’ about being born in India

In her defense, Alo Rani Sarkar had claimed that her name had appeared erroneously in the voter list of her husband’s native place. However, it came to light that she had ‘voluntarily’ opted for her name to be included in the electoral rolls by submitting her SSC certificate to the authorities.

The TMC leader also alleged that she was born in Baidyabati, in the Hooghly district of West Bengal on 22nd March 1969. She claimed to be an Indian citizen by birth under the Citizenship Act of 1955.

However, she failed to provide any document that could prove that her parents resided in Baidyabati or that she was born in that place. In an inquiry report, the TMC leader had claimed that she is the daughter of Samar Halder and that her ancestors hailed from Necharabad Upazila in the Pirojpur district of Bangladesh.

She also conceded that her brother and mother still live in Necharabad. Sarkar informed during the inquiry that she used to live in the North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal with her uncle.

“It is needless to say that the petitioner has claimed to be a citizen of this country by birth. But from the inquiry report on which she relies in her written objection against the application under Order VII Rule 11(d) of the CPC it is ascertained that her parents used to live in Bangladesh and she came to India with her uncle in her childhood, meaning thereby that the petitioner was born in Bangladesh,” the Court held.

Justice Justice Bibek Chaudhuri also observed discrepancies in the date of birth (DOB) of the TMC leader in Indian and Bangladeshi documents. While her DOB has been mentioned as March 22, 1969, on her Aadhar/ Pan Card, it is listed as January 15, 1967, on her National Identity Card (NIC) issued by Bangladeshi authorities.

Court unsure whether TMC leader is even an Indian citizen

The Court noted discrepancies in her election affidavit and the inquiry report. “It is not clear even on this date as to whether her name has been deleted from the electoral roll of Bangladesh,” it questioned. The Court also added that it was unclear as to how she became an Indian citizen.

“The petitioner has not claimed acquisition of citizenship under Section 3 or 4 of the Citizenship Act, 1955. She has not acquired citizenship by registration under Section 5 of the Citizenship Act of 1955,” it said.

“The petitioner also does not fall within the purview of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019. Therefore, even if the petitioner has a voter identity card, Aadhar card, and passport, the said documents do not prove her citizenship of this country,” the Calcutta High Court ruled.

It added, “The petitioner never acquired citizenship of this country following the provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955. On the contrary, the admitted position is that the petitioner was a Bangladeshi citizen on the date of declaration of General Election of West Bengal State Assembly by the Election Commission, filing of the nomination paper, date of the election, and declaration of the result.”

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Dibakar Dutta
Dibakar Duttahttps://dibakardutta.in/
Centre-Right. Political analyst. Assistant Editor @Opindia. Reach me at [email protected]

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