The party members’ simplicity and the party’s drive against corruption is what draws them, the drivers said

A recruitment drive by the Aam Aadmi Party in Shozhinganallur targeting mainly IT professionals took an unexpected turn on Tuesday, when more than 250 auto drivers turned up at the venue to join the party. 

“I have been disappointed with the political scenario in this State for the last 30 years. The simplicity of AAP members reminds me of leaders such as Annadurai and Kamaraj. They are accessible, not like the MLAs of today,” said R. Velu who drives an autorickshaw in and around Guindy.

Mr. Velu said he is part of Anna Hazare’s ‘India against Corruption’ drive as well. “I ferried some passengers to Marina for the protest and ended up participating in it. If the system changes our image of it as people who loot, other changes can also take place.”

Most drivers who joined the party said they welcomed the moves taken by the party in New Delhi and hoped to work against corruption here. Some also seemed upset about the meter system and the regular checks for licenses and papers.

“Here, there has been no crackdown on people who illegally own many autos and force drivers to pay huge rents,” said R. Mani who runs a share auto on OMR.

He said Arvind Kejriwal’s move to provide permits to auto drivers belonging to SC/ST and OBC communities prompted him to volunteer for the party. “I have been voting for Captain for some years now but I am upset as no one seems to care for us,” said the 42-year-old, who plans to work six hours a week for the party. Deepak Raj, a volunteer-coordinator of AAP, said the party has been receiving a steady stream of auto drivers who want to be members or volunteers. “Many are willing to work with us several days of the week,” he said.

This month, the party recruited more than 3,000 volunteers across the State.

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