Comedian opts out of poll race

Comedian opts out of poll race

Apparently finding the political stage a bit too hot to handle, unlike his comedy shows, stand-up comedian Raju Srivastava opted out of the electoral race and returned the ticket given to him by the Samajwadi Party (SP) to contest from the Kanpur Lok Sabha seat.

SP leaders here, however, claimed that Srivastava had been dropped by the party as he was not able to devote time for campaigning, and had been replaced by Surendra Mohan Agarwal.

Popular among his fans as “Gajodhar”, Srivastava on Tuesday alleged that SP leaders in Kanpur had not been cooperating with him.

“Although I had been declared the SP candidate from Kanpur almost a year ago, the SP workers and leaders in Kanpur never accepted the party decision. They never cooperated with me,” he said.

“It seems as if I have ruffled a few feathers in Kanpur. The local leaders found it hard to digest my presence, and were worried about their political future,” he went on to add.

Srivastava also said that SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav's repeated directions to local party leaders to cooperate with him had fallen on deaf ears.

“I deemed it best to return the ticket,” he said.

He, however, remained silent when asked whether he would join some other party.
SP leaders, however, said Srivastava had been warned on several occasions in the past after it was found that he was not taking interest in campaigning.

“He gave priority to his professional commitments. There were complaints from the local unit,” said a SP leader here.

The SP quickly replaced Srivastava with Agarwal, a trader, saying that the latter was a stronger candidate.

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