Kamal Haasan to contest from Coimbatore South constituency

Kamal Haasan to contest from Coimbatore South constituency
Actor and Makkal Needhi Maiyam (MNM) president Kamal Haasan poses for photographs with his party candidates during a press conference, ahead of Tamil Nadu Assembly polls, in Chennai, Wednesday, March 10, 2021. PTI

Chennai: Actor-turned politician Kamal Haasan would make his electoral debut, contesting from Coimbatore South constituency in the April 6 Tamil Nadu assembly elections.

The Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) president made the announcement here on Friday, releasing the second list of 43 party candidates which included veteran politician Pazha Karuppiah and yesteryear actor Sripriya who had paired with Haasan in many films in the 70s and 80s.

The party also named candidates for 18 constituencies in neighbouring Puducherry which also goes to polls on April 6 for its 30-member assembly.

Haasan, whose party is heading a three-party coalition in Tamil Nadu, will be up against the nominees of BJP and Congress, partners in the AIADMK and DMK led alliances respectively, in Coimbatore South.

Three years after floating the MNM, the 66-year old Haasan is taking the electoral plunge. He chose not to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections while his party polled 3.7 per cent votes, entering the fray in 37 constituencies.

Remembering his late father Sreenivasan, Haasan, declared the chief ministerial candidate by three-party front, expressed confidence that the people of Coimbatore South constituency would enable him to voice his views in the assembly by voting for him.

"My father's dream was I should become an IAS officer and then enter politics. Though I could not realise his dream (of becoming an IAS officer), my party comprises many (former) IAS officers. That is a proud moment for us," he told reporters here.

The party is facing the coming election with allies, actor R Sarath Kumar-headed All India Samathuva Makkal Katchi (AISMK) and India Jananayaka Katchi (IJK) of Lok Sabha MP Paarivendhar and has announced it will test its fortunes from 154 of the 234 seats, leaving the rest to its two partners.

Pazha Karuppiah, a former AIADMK MLA who later switched over to DMK, will contest from Thiyagarayanagar constituency in the city.

Karuppaiah, who was keeping himself away from mainstream politics after quitting the DMK in 2019, joined the MNM recently.

Actress Sripriya would also make her electoral debut, testing her fortunes from Mylapore constituency here.

Former IAS officer M Santhosh Babu, who was earlier given Villivakkam constituency here, has been shifted to Velachery, in south Chennai. Sriharan Bala has been nominated in Villivakkam constituency.

MNM vice president R Mahendran, who unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections from Coimbatore constituency in 2019, has been nominated from Singanallur in the textile city.

The party had released its first list of 70 candidates on Wednesday.

The leaders of MNM, AISMK, IJK have been describing their coalition as the "First Front" and not a "Third Front" as was being mentioned by some.

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