2019 elections: Will Kamal’s MNM prove to be the X factor?

Chennai: The recently-concluded Lok Sabha elections in Tamilnadu was special in many ways. Though it was considered a direct contest battle (between the AIADMK and DMK alliance), it was for the first time that the biggies faced the elections without their charismatic leaders.

The demise of former chief ministers M Karunanidhi and J Jayalalithaa meant their parties regrouped and redrew their strategies. Though they firmed up alliances and fought the elections, actor Kamal  Haasan throwing his hat in the ring at the last minute did surprise many.

Though Kamal was considered a ‘novice’ and as someone who lacked political acumen, his campaign did spring some surprises among politicos. He not only chose to contest the Lok Sabha elections but also came up with names for by-election to the 18 Assembly seats on behalf of his Makkal Needhi Maiam.

He projected himself as an alternative to both the Dravidian parties. He made a whirlwind tour of the State and addressed several meetings. He was aggressive and left no stone unturned in using social media, television and print median campaigns.

Speaking to News TodayMurali Abbas, a senior functionary of the MNM, said, “Kamal Haasan has won the confidence of the people. When people, especially youngsters, wanted a change, he did not hesitate to come to politics. He spoke to them in the way they understood. He was there on the field whenever needed. From Sterlite protests to Gaja cyclone, he made sure he personally called on those affected and did his best for them.”

“We fought the election with a clear agenda. We are here for change. We fight corruption. MNM  promises a better tomorrow. The reports that we hear on the ground is that lots of young voters, senior citizens and first-timer voters have supported us. It is heart-warming,” he said.

Having maintained equidistance from both the major alliances in the elections, people take us seriously, he adds.

Asked whose prospects would be dented in case of the MNM’s good show in the Lok Sabha polls, Murali  Abbas said with a smile, “Wait till 23 May. You will come to know. Lots of surprises will unfold.’

M BHARAT KUMAR