The present situation is a reflection of the leadership we have. It is a matter of inculcating discipline and the right values in citizens. Rather, politicians have been dividing the people and encouraging wrong things

A little over a year after her retirement as Special Chief Secretary from the State Home Department, Chaya Ratan is suddenly caught in the election melee. The Aam Aadmi Party candidate from the Secunderabad parliamentary constituency, this former IAS officer tells RAHUL DEVULAPALLI that 80 per cent of her postings and transfers stemmed from political interference. This, she says, was the result of her upright ways.

Inspired by Arvind Kejriwal and vexed with the politicians of today, she feels it is time the public chooses the ‘broom’ that can clean up the system. Busy giving final touches to the campaign roadmap at her office in East Marredpally, Ms. Ratan is confident of a good show in the upcoming elections.

After having engaged with the system as a bureaucrat for many years, why do you want to get in to politics?

As a bureaucrat, I have seen how politicians function behind walls. They preach one thing and implement something else. I am very disappointed with today’s politics and felt a change is necessary. Arvind Kejriwal has provided a good alternative for many like me who want to do something for society.

Apart from regular issues dogging the society, is there any special initiative you would like to highlight in your campaign?

I want to create awareness on the ‘brownout’ technology among public as it could answer our power problems. According to this new technology, every household will get 200W to 300 W of low power so that load shedding is avoided and more power saved. This technology is being used at IIT-Madras and being extended to a few districts in Tamil Nadu. I was also told it is a cost-effective technology.

There may be illegal settlements in your constituency and many may have illegal power supply or water connections. Slum inhabitants constitute a significant chunk of the voters. As a bureaucrat known to go by the book, how would you react to their demands when seeking votes?

The present situation is a reflection of the leadership we have. It is a matter of inculcating discipline and the right values in citizens. Rather, politicians have been dividing the people and encouraging wrong things. This is why we need good leaders and I believe they can bring a positive change.

As a newcomer to politics, and being the candidate of an unconventional party like the AAP, what difficulties do you face?

Lack of funds is a major problem. We had estimated that the election campaign would cost us around Rs. 40 lakh. So we are trying to raise funds and approaching people in this regard. According to party rules, we can accept donations only in the form of cheques. Apart from that, the formalities involved in fighting an election – right from filing nominations to seeking permission for canvassing – is so complicated that a regular citizen will not be able to contest. If am elected, I would also fight for reforms in the electoral process.

There are reports of discontent among some AAP members and volunteers.

I would like to say to all the volunteers to work towards the goal rather than harming the party’s interests. I have always believed that one should always do good and forget about the outcome. We are all like-minded people who have the intent to change the system, and we should work together for it.

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