'Laugh Or Cry?' Comedian After Nomination Rejected From PM Modi's Seat

Shyam Rangeela has alleged a series of hurdles in the nomination process.

New Delhi:

The affidavit of Comedian Shyam Rangeela, who had filed a nomination to contest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat was rejected by the Election Commission on Wednesday. In a video message, Mr Rangeela claimed that out of the 55 candidates vying for the seat, the forms of 36 nominees met rejection, while the affidavits of 15 candidates, including PM Modi and Congress pick Ajay Rai, sailed through the scrutiny process.

Mr Rangeela has alleged a series of hurdles in the nomination process, claiming he was barred from submitting his papers on time. His accusations extended to the District Magistrate’s office, where he alleged being unfairly singled out and denied assistance during the filing process. 

“Today, the District Magistrate told me that there was some issue with my documents and that I did not take the oath. They did not let the lawyers go in with me and called me alone. My friend was beaten up. Modiji may act and cry, but I don’t want to cry here,” Mr Rangeela said.

“27 nominations were submitted yesterday and 32 were rejected today, I feel like laughing at the Election Commission, should I laugh? Or should I cry?” he added.

The response from the official Varanasi District Magistrate’s account attempted to justify the rejection, citing deficiencies in Mr Rangeela’s affidavit and failure to comply with procedural formalities. 

“Your nomination paper was scrutinised in your presence and you were informed about the deficiencies. Your nomination paper has been cancelled because the affidavit submitted by you was incomplete and you did not take the oath/affirmation, a copy of the order of which has also been made available to you,” Varanasi District Magistrate S Rajalingam wrote on X.

Formerly a staunch supporter of PM Modi, Mr Rangeela had said that the circumstances have evolved over the past decade, prompting his decision to contest against the Prime Minister from Varanasi.

“In 2014, I was a follower of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. I shared many videos supporting the Prime Minister. Videos were also shared against Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal. Seeing them, one could say that I will vote only for the Bharatiya Janata Party for the next 70 years. But the situation has changed in the last 10 years. I will now contest against the Prime Minister in the Lok Sabha polls as an Independent candidate,” he had announced.

The Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency witnessed a historic clash in 2014 when Mr Modi, then BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, contested against AAP chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Mr Modi’s resounding victory, with a margin exceeding 3 lakh votes, solidified Varanasi’s position as a BJP stronghold, a legacy he aims to extend in the upcoming elections.

Varanasi, comprising five assembly seats, has been a battleground where the BJP and the Congress have locked horns over the years. Since 1957, while the BJP has enjoyed significant success since 1991, winning the seat seven times, the Congress has also wielded influence, securing victory six times. The Varanasi seat has never been won by the Samajwadi Party or the Bahujan Samaj Party.