Pankaj Tripathi
Pankaj Tripathi Image Credit: twitter @SpokespersonECI

Actor Pankaj Tripathi, who was appointed as the 'National Icon' of the Election Commission of India, has voluntarily stepped down from his position.

"Acknowledging his role as a political leader in an upcoming film, actor @PankajTripathi has voluntarily stepped down as #ECI National Icon as per terms of MoU. #ECI expresses gratitude for his impactful contribution to voter awareness & #SVEEP since Oct 2022," read a statement on the social media handle of ECI, posted by Spokesperson ECI on X.

Pankaj Tripathi was roped in as the ECI National Icon in October 2022. These days he is occupied in promoting his upcoming project 'Main Atal Hoon'. Recently, he talked about his interest in politics. Tripathi is playing the role of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the biopic 'Main Atal Hoon'.

In an interview with ANI, Tripathi spoke about his interest in becoming a politician in his home state, stating, "Everyone is a politician in Bihar."

Tripathi, who was a member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) during his college days in Bihar, said he had never thought about joining politics at that time.

The actor said, "I never thought about entering politics at that time. There was a thought that I might proceed in this line but then there was an arrest and the cops beat me up so I left that thought there and then. At the same time, I became inclined towards plays and dramas and after watching those, I got more attracted towards theatre."

Recently, during the trailer launch of his soon-to-be released biopic on Atal Bihari Vajpayee, he had opened up on his interest in politics and how he prepared for his role portraying the late Prime Minister of India. The film 'Main Atal Hoon' is directed by Ravi Jadhav and will be released on January 19.

He also recalled a funny anecdote from his college days when he joined the ABVP.

"I was in a youth wing. I have participated in andolans. I was even jailed for a week! Toh main uss raaste pe nikal chuka tha. Then I realised that the path of politics is full of thorns. Hence, I took a turn and started developing an interest in street theatre. There was Kaildas Rangalaya, Patna where I enrolled myself. Mujhe laga ki yeh behtar hai. Yahaan kam se kam bol ke acting hoti hai ki 'main acting kar raha hoon'," Tripathi quipped.

The actor said that he is honoured to bring Atal Bihari Vajpayee's story to silver screen.

"More than the film, the journey of playing Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee is really close to my heart. The man is truly a legend, and we are honoured to bring his inspiring story to the world. I hope audiences appreciate our efforts to bring in the legacy of Atal ji onto the big screens," he said.

The film is backed by Bhanushali Studios Limited and Legend Studios, Vinod Bhanushali, Sandeep Singh, Sam Khan and Kamlesh Bhanushali.