With the Supreme Court having barred Sanjay Dutt from contesting elections, the Samajwadi Party on Sunday replaced him with Nafisa Ali — well known actor and social activist, — as its Lucknow candidate.
The announcement came as a surprise since Nafisa had been in the running for a Congress ticket. She had contested as a Congress candidate against Mamata Banerjee in the last Lok Sabha poll from Kolkata (South), and lost.
At a press conference, flanked by Nafisa and Dutt, SP general secretary Amar Singh said: “Nafisa approached us seeking our support if she contested on a Congress ticket. I told her we would only support her if she contested on an SP ticket.”
What made Nafisa quit the Congress? Graceful and charming in a cream coloured sari, Nafisa frankly declared that she had been seeking a ticket from a party which had some chance of winning, which the Congress did not in Uttar Pradesh. She also confessed to some discomfiture with the Congress. “The last straw was Congress tickets being given to people like Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, who are accused in the anti-Sikh riots,” she said.
“The Congress cannot win the Lucknow seat, so it had better not put up any candidate against me,” Nafisa added. “It will only end up damaging the UPA’s prospects.”
Asked if the Samajwadi Party was using her, she said: “Of course, I want to be used. I want to be for the secular, democratic and socialist agenda the SP believes in.”