Given how carefully Kamal Haasan has been known to choose his film scripts, there was considerable anticipation about the candidates his party, the Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) would field in the Lok Sabha elections. When the 21 names were announced, it fulfilled at least one criterion – most of them are achievers in their field and well qualified. Eight of them are businessmen, three doctors, three lawyers, a former IPS officer and a film producer. They were chosen after a round of interviews. This will be MNM’s electoral debut in Tamil Nadu, with the battery torch its poll symbol.
With Kamal’s name not figuring in the first list, all eyes are now on 24 March when the second list of names for the remaining Lok Sabha seats and the 18 assembly constituencies where byelections will be held on 18 April, will be announced. Kamal admitted that he is keen to contest himself but had left it to the party to look at possible options and permit him to hit the ground running as a candidate.
The announcement on Sunday will be made in Coimbatore, giving rise to speculation whether the city in western Tamil Nadu is being seen as a possible constituency for Kamal Haasan. But sources in MNM say elaborate meetings have been recently organised in towns like Tirunelveli, Trichy and Madurai and only a similar session in Coimbatore was pending.
Ramanathapuram is another Lok Sabha constituency for which MNM has not announced its candidate. The actor-turned-politician was born in Paramkudi which falls in this southern Tamil Nadu constituency. Kamal had begun his political journey with a tour of this region last year.
South Chennai could be another option, given that for the other two Chennai constituencies, the party has fielded high-profile candidates. Actor Nasser’s wife Kameela Nasser who is also a film producer is in the fray from Chennai Central while AG Mourya, former IPS officer is contesting from Chennai North. Fielding Kamal from the Tamil Nadu capital city would enable the party to tap into the actor’s fan following among the urban electorate. While Kamal can be expected to put up a good fight here, the flip side is that it will pit him against formidable DMK and AIADMK candidates.
Categories: Tamil Nadu