In November 2012, anti-corruption crusader Arvind Kejriwal and his team floated the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and announced that they would take on the nation’s political heavyweights, expose corruption in the government and bureaucracy, and foster holistic development.
On February 14, 2016, the same party completed one year in power in the national capital, New Delhi.
More than 2,100 kilometres away — in Tamil Nadu’s capital Chennai — a new kid on the political block hopes to replicate the AAP’s historic model.
The Puthiya Sakthi Front (PSF), an outfit that has roped in non-governmental organisations and youth activists (just like how the AAP did), was launched on Tuesday.
The PSF wants to contest the upcoming assembly elections in Tamil Nadu to challenge the Dravidian parties that have ruled the state since Independence, expose graft in the administration and steer the state towards development.
PSF’s coordinator Senthil Armugam says the outfit wants to change the way politics plays out in the southern state.
“We want to highlight serious issues which are ignored by the major parties. We are confident that we will be successful in the long run as India is changing, says the 32-year-old software engineer.
However, for the PSF, the road towards electoral success may not be smooth.
“Without celebrities or money, it is very difficult to take on the big parties, but we are making a beginning and are in for the long haul. We have grassroots workers who expose corruption and civil society members who have been fighting money power in the state elections,” Armugam says.
He says more than 50 organisations have joined hands to form the PSF and the outfit’s leaders are interviewing potential candidates for 234 assembly seats. One such candidate is Sathya Durairaj, a young television journalist. She says she has always wanted to become a politician.
“I have always wanted to get into politics to serve people but I never knew how to do so. One day, my friend linked me to the PSF’s website. I attended the interview for the candidates,” she says.
Durairaj has been shortlisted for a second interview, to be held next month. She says she is serious about contesting the elections if she is selected. “We want to infuse a new culture in politics, which has of late become an industry (business),” says Jagadeeswaran of Lok Satta Party, which is also part of the PSF. Will history repeat itself this year? Will the PSF become the Aam Aadmi Party of Tamil Nadu? Only time will tell.