Moodbidri: Sudatta Jain Shirtady, a labour activist who works for a lodging house in Mangaluru, has spearheaded several labour-related campaigns under the banner of Akhila Bharata Karmika Sangha.
He has contested an election as an independent in the past, gone on hunger strikes in support of the working class and also been active in the anti-Yettinahole protest.
In between, he has had a brief association with Sri Rama Sene. Looking for a political plank for his campaigns, a few days ago, he formally joined the Indian National Congress party, in the presence of state minister K Abhayachandra. He says that Praveenchandra Jain was an inspiration for him to take this step.
But he has made it clear that he has joined the party in his personal capacity, while the organization, ABKS, will remain as a separate entity and retain its independent identity.
According to him, Congress is the only party that recognizes and respects its sincere workers, while other parties support only opportunists. Asked if he had any political ambitions, he said it would be up to the party elders to recognize his potential.
There have been a few cases of a turncoat culture among Congress and BJP leaders from the coastal districts. Congress leaders who for decades were bombarding the BJP have suddenly joined the same party. Similarly, some BJP leaders, in the guise of a change of heart, have walked over to the Congress party.
When this was pointed out to him, Sudatta Jain said that it was nothing but opportunism and added that he did not have any political affiliations so far.
He was critical about the duplicity of some political leaders in the district who hold conflicting or contradictory stands over the Yettinahole project at the local and state level.