National

Cool amidst the chaos

| Updated on: Apr 02, 2014
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Newbie wants politics to be about the basics

She is a science communicator who wants to talk the language of politics and win over the masses in the rough and tumble of electoral politics.

Chandana Chakrabarti has over the years had several careers — Telugu films, writing, master of ceremonies at events, and consulting. But, politics is a totally different ball game compared to the confines of the lab or the glitz and glamour of social events, avers this versatile lady.

The 50-plus Bengali-and-Hyderabadi has hitched onto the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) bandwagon. She has been nominated to fight the Lok Sabha elections from Malkajgiri in Hyderabad, a unique constituency with 30 lakh voters and a hot favourite of top guns from many parties.

“I do not underestimate one bit the effort needed to make a mark. I am starting from zero, it will be difficult but challenging,” she says on her chances, when Business Line caught up with her.

“The time has come for people like us to get into politics. We cannot wait for others to come and clean up the mess. We have several problems that can be solved. Every five years, leaders come and go but problems remain the same. The most common problems of water, electricity, potholes and traffic – all remain the same. Corruption is rampant,” she says.

The AAP, she continues, gives people hope. It has created an environment where good and well-meaning people can come and enter politics, Chakrabarti observes.

But this is not her maiden rendezvous with politics. She was associated with Jayaprakash Narayan of the Lok Satta Party. In fact, she campaigned in the 2009 elections. But JP’s pro-MNC stand and views on certain other issues distanced her from the party very soon.

Chakrabarti, a close associate of noted scientist and founder of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, (CCMB) Pushpa M Bhargava, says politics is not about a few families wresting power. “Politics has become a business. A family business with little investment but very high returns,” the mother of two points out.

Women’s rights

With a strident and concerned voice for issues affecting Hyderabad like the environment, the shrinking of lakes and women’s rights, Chakrabarti has, over the years, co-authored books on Indian science with Bhargava, runs a consultancy called Sukriti and is Honorary Secretary of MARCH (Medically Aware and Responsible Citizens of Hyderabad). She made an impression in action with her debut in Dollar Dreams , by noted director Sekhar Kammula.

People can change things if they raise their voices, she adds.

“Take the example of the RTI. It is a reality now not because the Government wanted to bring it in. It happened because people demanded it and strived for it,” she says, while getting geared up to hit the campaign trail and take on heavyweights across the political spectrum, including her former leader Jayaprakash Narayan.

Published on April 02, 2014

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