TMC leader alleges bribery attempt by BJP candidate ahead of bypolls

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Kolkata, Jul 9 (PTI) A day before assembly by-elections, TMC leader Kunal Ghosh accused BJP candidate and All India Football Federation president Kalyan Chaubey of offering a bribe to secure his support in winning the polls.

Chaubey dismissed the allegation as baseless.

By-elections will be held on Wednesday in four assembly seats in West Bengal - Maniktala in Kolkata, Ranaghat Dakshin in Nadia district, Bagdah in North 24 Parganas district and Raiganj in North Bengal’s Uttar Dinajpur district.

Ghosh, convener of the TMC’s Maniktala constituency, released an audio clip of his telephonic conversation and claimed that Chaubey had solicited his help to win the by-election.

"On July 7, around 11:30 PM, the BJP nominee and AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey called me, requesting my assistance in the by-election. He mentioned that if I helped him, he would try to accommodate me in a state-level or national-level sports organisation. He is misusing his official position as AIFF president for his political gain," Ghosh told reporters.

Responding to Ghosh’s remarks, Chaubey said he had called Ghosh to seek vote as a candidate.

"It was just a courtesy call, and recording the conversation and releasing an edited version is an offense. He himself had earlier expressed his desire to join the BJP. I have not misused my official position. He has distorted the audio clip," the AIFF chief said.

Ghosh, however, rejected Chaubey’s claim that he had called as a candidate to seek votes.

"I am not a voter of the Maniktala constituency, so the excuse that he called me as a candidate to seek votes is false and baseless," he said.

The Maniktala seat was secured by the TMC in 2021 but it became vacant after former state minister Sadhan Pandey died in February 2022. PTI PNT NN

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