On the eve of Parliament’s monsoon session, the citizenship of Nishit Pramanik, Minister of State for Home and an MP from West Bengal, is creating ripples.
Last Friday, Ripun Bora, Congress MP from Assam and state Congress chief, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking an inquiry into Mr Pramanik’s place of birth and nationality. The 35-year-old was included in the Central cabinet during the recent reshuffle.
In a tweet, Mr Bora referred to some media reports and shared his letter to the Prime Minister. “It’s a matter of grave concern that a foreign national is an incumbent Union Minister,” he wrote.
Now Trinamool leaders, too, have raised the issue. “Rajya Sabha MP board are asking all the right questions,” tweeted West Bengal Education Minister Bratya Basu.
Indranil Sen, another state minister, said he was “shocked and stunned to learn that Union Minister Nishit Pramanik might be a citizen of Bangladesh”.
The BJP has, however, brushed aside such views. “Let them show proof. Just pointing fingers is not enough,” the party’s West Bengal spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya has told the media.
No evidence has been presented yet by anyone who has delved into the matter of Mr Pramanik’s citizenship.
Questions were first raised after a Facebook post, apparently originating in Bangladesh, referred to his appointment as Minister of State and described him as “the successful son of Harinathpur in the Palashbari police station area of the Gaibandha district of Bangladesh”. “He studied computer science in West Bengal,” it added.
The post by Poojar Mela, which describes itself as a religious organisation in Bangladesh, has since been deleted.
Mr Pramanik’s Lok Sabha bio says his place of birth is Dinhata in West Bengal’s Cooch Behar district and that he has a bachelor’s degree in computer applications.
This isn’t the first time the Cooch Behar MP has made it to the headlines in recent times.
His education qualification, too, has been questioned by Trinamool leaders while he also faces over a dozen criminal cases, including one involving murder.