Amid resistance from majority of Idinthakarai villagers and members of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), its coordinator S.P. Udayakumar, who was hitherto spearheading the anti-Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project struggle, and his associate Rev. Fr. M.P. Jesuraj joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Friday.
“My joining the AAP will further strengthen the ongoing struggle against the project and take the issue to the national level with much vigour,” Dr. Udayakumar said justifying his decision.
However, people of this coastal hamlet, who were vociferously supporting the anti-KKNPP struggle since the agitation intensified 30 months ago, kept away from the political ceremony that took place on the village outskirts.
Joining the party in the presence of David Barunkumar Thomas, AAP’s State campaign committee convener, Dr. Udayakumar said he had decided to join the AAP after its high command agreed to fulfil his conditions such as taking people’s opinion on establishing nuclear reactors and decentralisation of power.
“While we’ll take this issue (anti-KKNPP agitation) to the next level, women from Idinthakarai will lead the PMANE and continue the protests here,” he said.
Dr. Udayakumar disagreed with the contention that the PMANE had split owing to his joining the AAP.
Those who wanted to continue the anti-KKNPP agitation were against the idea of taking the issue to the political level, he said.
He also said the party high command alone could take a decision on fielding him as AAP’s candidate from the Kanyakumari Lok Sabha segment.
As the Idinthakarai village committee and most of the PMANE members, including M. Pushparayan and R.S. Muhilan, were against the decision, Dr. Udayakumar, who used to address the media either from the protest venue in front of St. Lourdes Church or in the parish priest’s official residence, was asked on Thursday night to organise today’s press conference at St. Antony’s Church situated about 500 m from the protest venue.