Comedian Shyam Rangeela challenges PM Modi in Varanasi Lok Sabha polls

 The 29-year-old comedian hailing from Rajasthan, renowned for his impeccable mimicry of PM Modi, has declared his intention to contest the polls from Varanasi. 

| Updated: 01 May, 2024 5:55 pm IST

NEW DELHI: Comedian Shyam Rangeela is stepping into the political arena for the first time, announcing his candidacy in the Varanasi Parliamentary seat, and challenging Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections of 2024.

 The 29-year-old comedian hailing from Rajasthan, renowned for his impeccable mimicry of PM Modi, has declared his intention to contest the polls from Varanasi.

PM Modi, a two-term MP from Varanasi, aims to secure victory for the third time from this constituency. The Varanasi constituency is slated to vote in the eighth phase of the Lok Sabha elections in June.

“We will be standing there to at least tell the people that we won’t let democracy come under threat here, to provide an option to people to exercise their right to vote unlike Surat or Indore,” he told the media, referring to the walkover for the BJP candidates in these constituencies after Congress candidates withdrew their papers. “Even if everyone withdraws their nomination papers in Varanasi, my papers will still be there.”

He expresses no concern about the Enforcement Directorate (ED) or other entities. “If my accounts are checked, they will not find anything. I am the original monk. I will just pick up my bags and leave.” In a December 2016 speech, PM Modi referred to himself as a fakir.

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Rangeela reveals that he was once an ardent Modi supporter. “I was a bhakt even till 2016-17, but then restrictions were imposed on me,” he says, claiming he was not allowed to pursue the work he desired.

“I would get offers from TV shows. But once I arrived, I would find out that my act or script wasn’t being approved and I was removed, from one show after another,” he says.

“When it happens repeatedly, you realize there is politics in comedy. When people are using politics as a comedy platform, I will engage in politics through comedy, so that people realize I’m not just making hollow promises,” he says.

In 2022, Rangeela first ventured into politics and joined the Aam Aadmi Party, but it didn’t gain traction in Rajasthan. He asserts that as an Independent candidate, he is his own master. Rangeela states that he chose Varanasi to contest from as the entire country’s eyes are focused there. “There is no sentiment against Modi ji there, and anyone who can challenge him.”

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