MNM implements poll strategist Prashant Kishor’s template for 2021 TN assembly polls
The major Dravidian parties, the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), and opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) are yet to come out from the shadow of the recently finished Lok Sabha polls and 22 assembly by-polls. But, the MNM has already activated its poll machinery for the 2021 assembly polls as per the IPAC’s blueprint.Updated: Aug 18, 2019 19:19 IST
After exhibiting a tepid performance in its first-ever electoral outing during the recent Lok Sabha elections, where it polled just a little over four percent of the total votes, actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM), which has hired poll strategist Prashant Kishor’s IPAC ahead of the Tamil Nadu State Legislative Assembly (TNLA) elections due in 2021, is rolling out a slew of changes.
The major Dravidian parties, the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), and opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) are yet to come out from the shadow of the recently finished Lok Sabha polls and 22 assembly by-polls. But, the MNM has already activated its poll machinery for the 2021 assembly polls as per the IPAC’s blueprint.
According to MNM top sources, the IPAC has started its work for the veteran actor’s party in the first week of August and has recently submitted a report conveying the current position of MNM.
“As per the suggestion of IPAC, we have done some major changes in the party structure. We are looking to strengthen our party structure in the rural areas,” MNM sources said.
Kamal Haasan who launched his party MNM in February 2018 had fielded candidates for all the 38 seats in Tamil Nadu and the lone seat in Puducherry. While it failed to win any seat, MNM did creditably in the urban pockets including South Chennai, Coimbatore, and Madurai.
Since elections for the Vellore LS seat were rescinded in April and again held in August, MNM chose not to field its candidate in the seat.
According to Murali Abbas, spokesperson MNM, “Since TN people had given a reasonable mandate for a debutant party, we intend to strengthen our position to fulfill their dreams through the upcoming elections.
“When LS polls were conducted in Tamil Nadu in April, our party was just 1.2 years old. Even though we were newcomers, TN voters had belief in us. The same was reflected in the results. Hence, we have joined hands with IPAC. They are working for us in the field. MNM will emerge as a big force in TN. We will provide the best governance to TN,” Abbas added.
He also highlighted Kamal’s recent move to expand MNM’s party structure by inducting six general secretaries into the party.
Abbas said in the recent revamp MNM had divided the state into eight zones.
“Chennai, Kancheepuram, Salem, Villupuram, Coimbatore, Trichy, Madurai and Tirunelveli are the eight zones. This is for the easy and effective administration of our party. Each zone will have their zonal in-charge for the organization as well as co-ordination,” a MNM statement said.
“To have better focus, we have appointed regional and party wings general secretaries for MNM. Former IPS officer AG Mouriya has been appointed as general secretary for MNM’s north and east TN. Former IAS officer R Rangarajan will function as general secretary for spreading MNM propaganda. Advocate A Arunachalam is the newly appointed general secretary for MNM co-ordination. While V Uma Devi will work as general secretary for frontals, retired IAS officer Basheer Ahmed will work as general secretary for president’s office. MNM president’s office will also have the general secretary’s power to monitor south and west TN,” Kamal Haasan said in the statement.
R Rangarajan, General Secretary, Propaganda, said this was a move to strengthen the party at the grass-root level.
“Since the current state of polity in TN is no longer for the welfare of the common man, MNM was formed to serve as a party that brings back the lost ethos of TN. As we want to register a bigger success in the 2021 Tamil Nadu assembly polls to form a government in TN, we have made the above action plans. Our leader Kamal Haasan had already explained about these changes,” he added.
When asked about the functioning of these new office-bearers, Rangarajan said these new general secretaries would fill all the position in the grass root-level of the party.
“Filling all the party posts in the ground level is our priority for the next ninety days. We have been working with IPAC to bring in change in TN. The recent changes are part of our strategy for winning 2021 TNLA elections,” he added.
Meanwhile, political analysts are not sure whether IPAC would be of help to MNM and have the same impact as it did for its clients in other states.
“BJP, JD (U), and YSR Congress benefited by appointing a political strategist as they had an established base. However, I am not sure that MNM would reap fruits with the same move. Working with strategists help parties which have already a clear political base. MNM is a new party which is yet to even form a party structure across the state. So, at this point it is too early to say whether roping in IPAC will actually help MNM make a bigger political impact,” Aazhi Senthilnathan, a political analyst from Chennai said.