Activist Irom Sharmila, who has decided to contest Manipur assembly elections next year, wants the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to campaign for her. Sharmila had met Kejriwal in Delhi Monday and sought his advice on how to defeat rival political parties.
Sharmila, who is here to attend a “global peace festival”, said she would require Kejriwal’s help to take on the established political parties in Manipur. “We want Kejriwal to campaign for us. We would not only require his moral support, but also help of his volunteers to win the elections,” said Sharmila.
Kejriwal had last year successfully campaigned in Bihar for the Mahagatbandhan led by Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader Nitish Kumar. While spelling out reasons for seeking support from Kejriwal, Sharmila said he has cracked the code of winning elections against established parties. “His party has defeated most powerful and corrupt parties in elections. Kejriwal has emerged as a leader and has developed a knack of winning elections,” she said.
She ruled out any possibility of joining hands with any other political party. “We will form our own regional political party, having representation from all the sections of the society,” said Sharmila. The name of the party is yet to be finalised. “Me and my associates are thinking of a name. It’s going to a collective decision,” informed Sharmila.
While giving reasons for entering mainstream politics, Sharmila said she wants to work for the development of the state. “ I have a strong support of people which will help me in winning the election. Once elected, I will work for the betterment of people,” said Sharmila. Sharmila, who recently ended her 16-year-long hunger strike against the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA ) in Manipur, is in Chandigarh to take part in the 11th edition of the Global Youth Peace Fest (GYPF)-2016. She has already expressed her desire to become chief minister of the state so that she could continue her fight against AFSPA.
Sharmila, 44, who shunned food for 16 long years, advised youngster not to follow her way of protest. “There are so many ways of protesting other than fasting. Method adopted by me requires personal sacrifice,” she said. Even after ending her hunger strike, Sharmila is sticking to her resolve not to meet her mother, comb her hair or cut her nails until the AFSPA is repealed. “My mother accidentally met me at hospital recently. I will not met her till ASFPA is repealed,” she said.