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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

AAP eyeing to make noticeable entry in TN

PTI  Chennai, March 27, 2014
First Published: 12:41 IST(27/3/2014) | Last Updated: 12:44 IST(27/3/2014)

The Aam Aadmi Party seeks to catch the people's attention in its electoral debut in Tamil Nadu during the Lok Sabha polls banking on the "good" background of some of its candidates and capitalising on the social-media savy educated and employed volunteers.

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The Kejriwal-led party, which is forcing a six-cornered contest in at least four of 39 seats in the state, is hoping to make its presence felt being aware of the ground reality that it cannot replicate its Delhi assembly poll feat.

AAP has roped in well known faces like anti-nuclear activists, writers, journalists and lawyers into its fold.

"We have already announced eight of our candidates for Tamil Nadu. We will make our candidates contest in 23 or 24 constituencies across Tamil Nadu," AAP's state campaign committee convenor David Barun Kumar told PTI.

The party's future in the state saw a silver lining when Kejriwal called on anti-nuclear activist SP Udayakumar at Idinthakarai near Kudankulam last year.

Ever since the fledgling party nurtured national ambitions, activists like Udayakumar and Pushparayan were considered potential candidates for the party in the state. Meetings by Prashant Bhushan with these activists further strengthened the theory.

Known well among employed professionals, mostly in the IT industry in urban areas, the Kejriwal-led party's reach into the interiors of Tamil Nadu remains to be seen.

While critics claim AAP does not have an opinion on issues other than corruption, activists like Udayakumar tend to disagree.

"We will fight against corruption and communalism, which are the root causes for many issues in this country. There has not been a clear policy by the Centre on Tamils in India as well as Tamils in Sri Lanka. We would bring about a change in that attitude and have new set of friends in Delhi," AAP's Kanyakumari candidate and People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy co-ordinator Udayakumar told PTI.

Asked why the party has not fielded candidates in all 39 seats in the state, he said, "Since the party feels it would not be right to contest in all the 39 seats just for the sake of contesting, we have fielded candidates in constituencies, where we think we are good and strong."  Two of his fellow activists, who protested against the commissioning of the nuclear plant at Kudankulam -- M P Jesuraj and M Pushparayan -- have been fielded by the AAP in Tirunelveli and Tuticorin constituencies respectively.

While major political alliances led by AIADMK, BJP and DMK, besides Congress are contesting all seats, Left parties will test their electoral fortunes in 18 seats together and AAP in about 23, throwing up a multi-corner fight.

"People have understood that both Congress and BJP are two sides of the same coin. They have not done enough for the Tamils. We want to bring about a change -- a corruption and communalism-less society," Udayakumar, who uses microblogging site Twitter for his campaigning, said.

"Since we are activists, people would know that we are principled and are really with the aam aadmi like we always used to," said Udayakumar, who had been the spearhead of the anti-KNPP stir in the past three years.

AAP's candidates announced so far are -- J Prabhakar (Chennai Central), Pon Chandran (Coimbatore), KK Kumarasamy (Erode), SP Udayakumar (Kanniyakumari), Satheesh Kumar (Salem), M Pushparayan (Tuticorin), Jesuraj M P (Tirunelveli), and R Chakravarthy Rajagopalakrishnan (Tiruppur).


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