TN elections 2021: MNM chief Kamal Haasan bets on walk, chats to canvass votes
Coimbatore, Mar 20: Actor politician, Makkal Needhi Maiam chief Kamal Haasan is betting big on casual interactions with people like when he goes on a walk to canvass votes for the April 6 Assembly polls.
Haasan, who is debuting from Coimbatore South Assembly constituency, went for a walk in the flower market and R S Puram areas on Saturday morning and people vied with each other to click selfies and converse with him. After visiting Amman Kulam locality, he said people faced hardship to get access to even very basic amenities and vowed to address their issues.
His visit to a restaurant to have coffee saw fans surround him. A man sung a popular number from his 1992 Tamil flick 'Devar Magan' and replaced the lyrics to suit the the actor's political innings.
The actor, all smiles, acknowledged the fan's affection by nodding his head.As several people tried to get close to him, someone stepped on his foot by mistake, leading to swelling. Since Haasan recently underwent a follow-up surgery on his leg, doctors' advise was taken and he was advised rest for a while and accordingly there would be some changes in his propaganda schedule, MNM said.
Hassan's nomination papers, meanwhile, has been accepted by poll authorities following scrutiny, it said in a release. The star value of the actor, active in the tinsel world since the 1970's, could be gauged from the fact that wherever he went, a number of people tried to have a word with him or wished him well.
When he travelled to nearby Tirupur district in a helicopter for campaigning, many locals turned up at the college ground, used as a helipad, to see him. After he left the spot by road for poll propaganda, his chopper continued to be the centre of attraction and people eagerly took selfies in front of it.
Haasan, after choosing to fight from this textile city, has been staying here for about a week and personally interacting with people. The other day when he travelled in an autorickshaw, a youngster on a motorbike chased the three wheeler and wished him well. He went on a walk around the site of a yet to be completed overbridge and lashed out at the AIADMK government for not completing the project and over corruption.
However, whether his cinematic charisma would translate into votes and catapult his fledgling party into a decisive political force remains to be seen. Besides following the conventional campaign, DMK president M K Stalin, ahead of the 2016 Assembly polls, reached out to the people by going on a walk in every town he visited and by having tea in local shops and so on.
In 2018, Haasan launched Makkal Needhi Maiam, pitching a 'Centrist' line. His party garnered 3.77 per cent votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and got 15,75,640 valid votes out of the 4,18,25,669, total valid votes polled in Tamil Nadu.
The MNM, which will be fighting the Assembly polls for the first time, has firmed up an alliance with actor Sarathkumar led All India Samathuva Makkal Katchi and Indiya Jananayaga Katchi.
AIADMK has been in power in Tamil Nadu since 2011 and DMK is putting its best foot forward to capture power from its arch rival, while MNM has been trying to position itself as the only alternative to the Dravidian majors.