Will Kamal Haasan prevail in Coimbatore this time around?

According to sources, Haasan might contest from South Chennai or Coimbatore

PTI8_1_2018_000040A Makkal Needhi Maiam chief Kamal Haasan | PTI

Actor-politician and founder of Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM), Kamal Haasan, is likely to team up with the Congress-DMK alliance in Tamil Nadu. Haasan is expected to hold talks with the DMK to seek a ticket for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

“I will meet you in two days and give you some good news. Work for the Lok Sabha polls is going on and I hope for a good opportunity,” Haasan said, as he returned from the US after shooting for Mani Ratnam’s Thug Life. MNM insiders say he might share the good news on Wednesday (February 21), on the anniversary of the formation of his party. Sources said Haasan will call on Chief Minister M.K. Stalin after the budget session.

Haasan, who took the political plunge in 2018 by projecting himself as an agent of change, has been cozying up to the Congress and the DMK for the past few months. He had called on Rahul Gandhi and hinted at supporting the Congress. He had participated in Bharat Jodo Yatra and supported EVKS Elangovan, the Congress candidate in the Erode East bypoll in 2023.

Haasan had already made it clear that he is close to the Congress. The DMK, sources say, might back him on a Congress ticket, while Haasan wants to contest in his party’s torchlight symbol which was allotted to MNM by the Election Commission of India a week ago.

According to sources, Haasan might contest from South Chennai or Coimbatore. South Chennai is DMK’s bastion, where the party's Thamizhachi Thangapandian is the sitting MP. Coimbatore, which is held by the CPI(M) currently, might be allotted to Haasan.

Haasan is eyeing for Coimbatore as he finished runner-up in 2021 assembly polls there. Coimbatore was one of the few constituencies where his party polled over one lakh votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. His key aide R. Mahendran, who polled 1.45 lakh votes then, is now part of the DMK. He quit MNM in 2021 after Haasan faced a huge setback in the assembly polls. Apart from MNM, the Congress also has a strong base in Coimbatore.

The Congress, Communists, MNM and the DMK votes in Coimbatore are expected to help him win. However, Haasan might not enjoy the same strength as in 2021, as he has not been active in politics since the assembly polls. Meanwhile, there are speculations that Mahendran may switch sides again and join the BJP.

MNM, which polled four per cent votes in 2019 Lok Sabha polls, faced a setback with its vote share coming down to 2 per cent in the assembly polls. After the 2021 elections, most of the prominent faces in the party, except Haasan, resigned from the party to join the DMK and the Congress. His party did not contest even the local body polls and Haasan has not been active in politics in the past two years.

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