'AAP refused to take a stand against nuclear power plants, so I and my supporters quit.'
'I am contesting elections to start a nationwide debate on the present nuclear policy.'
'The nuclear fiasco is a complete waste of money, time and energy.'
S P Udayakumar, left, has spearheaded the agitation against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project in southern Tamil Nadu for many years.
After the plant started functioning he contested the 2014 Lok Sabha election, but lost. He regularly takes the train from Kanyakumari to Kashmir highlighting what is wrong with using nuclear energy.
Udayakumar is contesting the Tamil Nadu assembly election from the Radhapuram constituency, where the nuclear plant is located.
He spoke to A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com about why he is contesting the election.
You have 2,000 sedition cases against you...
Not 2,000, there are 21 sedition cases against me and another 21 cases for waging war against the State.
Among my supporters, about 1,600 of them have cases against them, including sedition cases.
At present the cases are dormant. Out of 380 cases, 240 have been withdrawn because of a direction from the Supreme Court.
Why did you quit the Aam Aadmi Party?
AAP refused to take a stand against nuclear power plants, so I and my supporters quit.
Why are you contesting this election?
We are protesting against the expansion of the Kudankulam project. For that we had three options. One, we could have started a violent protest, but we do not believe in violence.
We could have acknowledged defeat, but we don't want to do that.
The third option was contesting elections to keep the KNPP protests alive and in the limelight.
I am contesting elections to encourage and start a nationwide debate on the present nuclear policy.
There are allegations that you operate with foreign funds. What do you have to say?
This is an old allegation. They haven't proved anything. We sent a legal notice to the then prime minister Manmohan Singh, he did not reply.
They want to spoil my name. It is a smear campaign.
Earlier you were fighting the Congress government. Now you are saying the Bharatiya Janata Party government is bad. Why?
The BJP talks about Indian nationalism, but they are as bad as the Congress.
They are signing nuclear agreements indiscriminately and have not produced a single unit of electricity from any of these agreements.
The nuclear fiasco is a complete waste of money, time and energy.
The Congress, the BJP, the Department of Atomic Energy and the Prime Minister's Office are taking Indian citizens for a ride by bending the Nuclear Liability Act as they wish.
They are giving different terms to different countries and thus causing confusion among the public.
The Kudankulam nuclear plant is functioning and now they are going to expand it. Do you still believe your protests will succeed?
Oh yes! People will not be defeated in a democracy.
The government is ignoring us. We have started the Pachai Tamilagam (Green Tamil Nadu) party. We will produce leaders who will protest against nuclear power.
Our young leaders will revise the policy in future.
The children of India will continue the struggle and they will decide to shut it down.
After the election, what are you planning to do?
I will sit down with my comrades.
If we win, we will make Radhapuram a model constituency. We will desilt the lakes. We will create jobs for the youth in the constituency. We will make the roads safe.
If we lose, we will groom future leaders. Win or lose, we will continue to work.