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`Young' party to contest Assembly elections

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FRESH BLOOD: Lawyer Srikanth Chakravarti, Chief Adviser Santhanagopalan Vasudev and party president Tanmay Rajpurohit (from left to right) talk about their fledgling party `Lok Paritran' on Thursday. Photo: V.Ganesan
FRESH BLOOD: Lawyer Srikanth Chakravarti, Chief Adviser Santhanagopalan Vasudev and party president Tanmay Rajpurohit (from left to right) talk about their fledgling party `Lok Paritran' on Thursday. Photo: V.Ganesan

Sudhish Kamath

Lok Paritran to fight polls in Tamil Nadu, Pondy and Kerala

CHENNAI: Three days ago, aerospace engineer Tanmay Rajpurohit, who passed out of IIT Bombay and Georgia Tech, Atlanta, also a postgraduate in Economics from New York University, decided to have his fledgling party Lok Paritran, comprising a bunch of highly educated spirited youth, take the plunge into Assembly elections. "We will contest elections in Tamil Nadu, Pondichery and Kerala," Tanmay told The Hindu at a coffee shop, minutes after getting off an autorickshaw, along with party-workers Srikant Chakravarti, a young lawyer and Santhanagopalan Vasudev, a Ph.D in Economics, who studied with Tanmay in NYU.

Considering that the party got its registration approved by the Election Commission only on February 24, after it was formed on November 18, 2005, one might think it's a little too late to begin. "It's not," says an emphatic Tanmay. "No time. Does not mean we don't try."

As Srikant adds, "When you want to start working for the country, you have to seize the earliest opportunity."

Money and resources? "You don't need money to contest election. You need the intent to do good and the spirit. Of course, we need a minimum amount of money that can be raised by public donations," says Tanmay. "We have started to look for prospective candidates.

If we get five, we'll field five. If we get two, we'll field two. If we get 200, we will field 200. But we need the right kind of people," he explains.

The party will focus on campaigning in the three southern states in the next two months. "The first step is to identify candidates and based on their experience, we will take a week to consider the constraints and optimise on strategy for the polls," says the 26-year old party president. Lok Paritran will conduct interviews and choose candidates on the basis of "honesty of efforts, education levels, experience in rural areas and spirit," Santhanagopalan, the chief advisor for the party says.

Quiz them on the unique selling proposition in their ideology of fighting corruption and bringing change and Tanmay is quick to retort: "This is not a product to have a USP. It's not a relevant question.

What makes a difference is that we mean what we say. We are a party of action. If we say `Let's fight the elections, we fight.' We are putting serious efforts and it is for all to see."

What issues would the party stand for? "Issues change over time and place.

As a national party, we cannot eliminate any issues and will take them up depending on local parameters. The stand of the party comes from intent. And the intent is betterment of people."

"People perceive politics as the domain of the gerontocracy (people over 70), plutocracy (only for the rich) and kleptocracy (those who can scam). So it was not possible for us to join any other party and change the system.

You will have to compromise a lot and you will end up diluting your ideology," says the president.

How realistic or ambitious is Lok Paritran? "It all depends on the support of the people. Within five days of our website (www.paritrana.org) coming up, we got 5000 people registering and calls from as far as Milan and Korea volunteering to donate money.

We will keep going, no matter how long it takes... five years, 10 years, and 15 years... But I'll quit politics at 45 because I don't want to promote gerontocracy in politics," laughs Tanmay.

The party will announce its election plans at a press conference on Friday at the Chartered Accountants Study Circle here. To join the party, call Santhanagopalan at 93812 02545.

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