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dna exclusive: A referendum to decide PMANE support for AAP

Friday, 10 January 2014 - 7:09am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

The struggle against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, may just gain a political hue on Sunday when members of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) vote on whether to join the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

Late last month, senior AAP leader Prashant Bhushan had expressed solidarity with protesters in the coastal village of Idinthakarai near the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant.

Bhushan had dubbed the power plant as “inhuman and anti-people” and also invited SP Udayakumar, coordinator of PMANE, to lead AAP in Tamil Nadu.

The decision to join AAP will be a three-step process and take into consideration the views of the village committee and community leaders, said Udayakumar. “We will consult the village committee that consists of 60 people, community leaders from three districts of Kanyakumari, Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli and about 12,000 of the villagers over a series of meetings and consultation in the next three days,” he added. The movement, in sync with ideals of participatory democracy, will make the final decision on Sunday by holding a referendum on the issue of joining AAP.

Udayakumar, however, said that PMANE would extend conditional support to the AAP and the party would have to clearly state its stand on nuclear energy. “We also want the freedom to give the party a Tamil name in the state,” he said. The move may ensure greater resonance for AAP among the masses in the state. The AAP will also have to state its views on Sri Lanka and the continuous attack on Tamil fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy to get support of the PMANE.

The movement had so far been reluctant to join any political party. It had also written to nearly all the political parties, including the Bahujan Samajwadi Party and the Trinamool Congress, to make the people’s struggle an election issue. “None of the parties bothered to even acknowledge our letter. AAP sent one of its senior-most leaders to us, which is why we are considering the option of joining them,” said Udayakumar.

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