Actor politician Kamal Hasaan has said his Makkal Needhi Maiyam has done well in its debut in the Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu though it drew a blank. It has polled over one lakh votes in three constituencies and over 5,000 in some others. “But we still we have a long way to go,” he told reporters on Friday.
The party did well in urban centres. In South Chennai, it came third with 1.35 lakh votes out of the 6 lakh votes polled. It saw battle of two prominent figures, DMK’s Thamizhachi Thangapandian, daughter of a former Minister and Jayawardane, son of AIADMK Minister D Jayakumar. Tamizhachi emerged winner.
The MNM has done equally well in Coimbatore where its candidate got 1.45 lakh votes where the CPM candidate backed by the DMK trounced BJP’s former State president C P Radhakrishan. As Kamal has always been close to the Left, the victory margin may have been more if his party had not split the anti-BJP vote.
While congratulating Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his resounding win, Kamal said: “The people of Tamil Nadu have spoken up by not toeing the national line. I am proud of my people who have stood for Tamil Nadu.”
He said going forward, his party would focus on farmers distress. Apparently referring to the revival of the hydrocarbon in the Cauvery delta despite protests by farmers, Kamal said the Centre should not implement projects that will harm agriculture.
Fellow actor Vijakanth’s Desiya Morpokku Kazhagam, which has been on the decline after the illness of the star, has drawn blank after a last-minute alliance with the AIADMK after hard bargaining. It has lost all the four seats it contested and is facing de-recognition as a regional party following a sharp drop in its vote share. This means it cannot use its Drum symbol.
In the DMK front, Marumarchi DMK of Vaiko has won the only seat it contested with its leader Ganesamurthi securing the Erode seat.
Vaiko did not contest on the advice of DMK president M K Stalin who said that if he entered the fray, the Vedanta group would go all out to defeat him because of his strident campaign against the Sterlite plant in Thoothukudi. Stalin said he was keen Vaiko should go to Parliament and he would, therefore, be made a Rajya Sabha member. Vaiko accepted the assurance and campaigned for the DMK-led alliance.