‘Iron Lady’ declines AAP offer of ticket to contest Lok Sabha poll

Irom Sharmila, who has been on a fast unto death for the past 13 years demanding repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958, has said she rejected the Aam Aadmi Party’s offer to contest the Lok Sabha election on the party ticket as she believed citizens could make their voice heard without joining politics.

At a brief interaction with reporters when she was produced in the chief judicial magistrate’s court in Imphal East on Friday, Ms. Sharmila said senior AAP leader Prashant Bhushan had approached her with the offer and told her that the party would do the campaigning. If elected, her voice would be heard in Parliament, Mr. Bhushan reportedly told her.

However, Ms. Sharmila said she disagreed, as she did not believe the voice of a politician would be heard while a citizen’s would not. Mahatma Gandhi launched the non-violent campaign to drive out the British without joining politics, she said.

She began her fast on Nov. 4, 2000 after innocent bystanders were shot dead by security personnel following an ambush by insurgents.