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No allies in sight, Kamal Haasan’s party to go solo in Lok Sabha polls

Kamal Haasan has said his newly-floated Makkal Needhi Maiam will contest all 40 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in the upcoming parliamentary polls.

india Updated: Feb 06, 2019 19:15 IST
MC Rajan
MC Rajan
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Kamal Haasan,Makkal Needhi Maiam,Tamil Nadu
Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) president Kamal Haasan at a function in Chennai in October last year. (Photo: PTI)

Taking a high moral ground and vociferously advocating equidistance from both the ruling AIADMK and the principal opposition DMK appears to have left actor-politician Kamal Haasan’s fledgling party, Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM - People Justice Centre) to plough a lonely furrow in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

While the AIADMK has been dismissive of Kamal’s political entry, the DMK has thus far avoided any criticism of him. But, both have not made any explicit overture to the actor for an electoral alliance.

It is nearly a year since the versatile actor launched his MNM at a massive rally in Madurai which was attended by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. While his celluloid rival, Rajinikanth is yet to launch his party and is indecisive about entering the LS poll arena, Kamal has now announced that the MNM is ready to contest all the 39 constituencies in Tamil Nadu the lone seat in neighbouring Puducherry Union Territory.

“We would rather contest alone. We are very clear on it. No change in this stand,” was his response to media questions on Tuesday, whether the MNM would team up with the DMK for the LS poll. Asked if the party would contest all the 40 seats, he said, “We are working on that.”

Further, the actor asserted that he was not interested in seat sharing at the cost of the MNM’s ideology. Even Congress presenting an option to join the DMK-led alliance seems to be not an option attractive enough to him.

While pointing out that the AIADMK is facing corruption charges, Kamal maintains that he would not agree that DMK president MK Stalin has a clean image.

Kamal had earlier openly asked the Congress to snap ties with the DMK, so that his fledgling MNM could enter into an alliance with the grand old party. While the Congress has politely declined it, the DMK chose not to react to it. He had even called on Congress president Rahul Gandhi as well as UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in the national capital in June last year. Then, he had a meeting with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan as well.

Though not aggressive in his criticism of the Modi government and the BJP, he had not endeared himself to the saffron camp. The BJP too is keen on roping in Rajinikanth and not Kamal.

“It is at this juncture that Kamal says that his MNM will go it alone. No major party in the state is ready to take him along. They are probably considering him as a spoiler and doesn’t want to team up with,” says political analyst K Elangovan, a practising advocate.

Initially, Kamal said talks were on with parties and the MNM gave him a free hand to decide on alliance. Then, he kept everyone guessing on whether the party would contest the elections. His open call to the Congress to break its alliance with the DMK appears to be his Achille’s heels.

“Kamal says one thing today and changes it another day. DMK is not dependent upon others. Our party panel on alliance is carrying out its work. It is better not to comment on what Kamal is going to do,” said DMK organising Secretary RS Bharathi, MP.

According to Elangovan, Kamal doesn’t fit into the Dravidian framework and not only that he has not been able to convey and have political conversation. “He is still not able to project his brand of politics and connect with the people. Politics is a disturbing phenomenon, it should create ripples. Even his language is not articulate enough,” he points out.

But, an MNM functionary, who doesn’t want to be named said cadre is enthused about Kamal’s announcement. “Of all the leaders, it was Kamal who had spent more time in the delta region in the aftermath of the disastrous Gaja cyclone and stood with the people. Our Gram Sabha is now followed by the DMK. We are out to prove our strength in the elections,” the functionary said.

First Published: Feb 06, 2019 18:56 IST