Actor and stand-up comedian Raju Srivastava Tuesday said he has returned the Samajwadi Party (SP) ticket from Kanpur Lok Sabha constituency as his supporters were being threatened by those of other claimants to the seat from the party. He said the top SP leadership was not taking cognisance of his complaint in this regard.
“It seems that there are several claimants for party ticket from Kanpur. They always treated themselves as candidates. My supporters were being threatened by them,” Raju Srivastava told The Indian Express.
“They pulled down my hoardings. Even those who were with me during cycle yatra were threatened. I brought this to the notice of SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and state party president and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. They assured me that the issue will be taken care of. But they took no action. Perhaps they are too busy,” Srivastava said.
The Kanpur unit of SP doesn’t bother about the top SP leadership, he said, adding that he returned the ticket as he didn’t want to waste time. “I think I am better while making people laugh.”
He also denied any plans to join any other party for contesting the elections.
Later in the evening, in a damage control exercise, SP’s national general secretary Ramgopal Yadav issued a press release stating that Srivastava has been replaced by Surendra Mohan Aggrawal.
SP spokesman Rajendra Chowdhury, claimed that Srivastava’s ticket had been cancelled a few days ago. “The party had made Srivastava its Lok Sabha candidate from Kanpur. But he was not taking his candidature seriously. Instead of working in the constituency, he was spending his time in Mumbai, due to which his ticket was cancelled by the party some days ago,” Chowdhury said.
Incidentally, Aggrawal, who replaced Srivastava, had forfeited his deposit in 2009 when he contested as SP candidate. Aggrawal also had lost from Kanpur as SP candidate in 1998.
The party, meanwhile, said it has dissolved its Kanpur unit with immediate effect.
Raju was named as Kanpur candidate by SP on February 13 last year and had soon after begun campaigning in the constituency. Raju shares a good relationship with Mulayam’s family and was seen performing recently at the birthday of SP chief’s grand-daughter.