Kamal rejigs party, hoists MNM flag

3 leaders from Kamal Haasan’s MNM join BJP

Three Lok Sabha candidates fielded by actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan’s party, Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM), officially joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday.

N Rajendran (Arakkonam), S Srikarunya (Krishnagiri) and T Ravi (Chidambaram) joined the BJP in the presence of former Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan in Chennai. They had joined the MNM when the party was launched in 2018 and contested the Lok Sabha polls.

“We are a young party and we have so many people. Our party’s strength is our leader, Kamal Haasan, and the belief the youngsters have in our party. We have to introspect why the three party members joined the BJP at the same time. We are not sure if they were unhappy for not given a post within the party,” said a senior party member.

Makkal Needhi Maiam contesting its first poll scored an impressive four per cent votes but failed to win any seats. The party fared well in urban areas like Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai.

Kamal Haasan has planned to induct more party posts on November 7 which coincides with his birthday. A three-day event has been to celebrate the veteran actor’s 60 years in Indian cinema.

Meanwhile, Kamal, who will inaugurate a statue of his father Srinivasan in his native place Paramakudi on Thursday, has urged his party members not to erect banners and hoardings. He said strict action would be taken against those who erect banners.

It may be recalled that Kamal appealed Prime Minister Narendra Modi to denounce the banner culture, more than two weeks after young techie R Subashree was run over by a water tanker after an illegal banner fell on her while she was driving a two-wheeler.

He tweeted: “”Honourable @PMOIndia while Thamizh Nadu and Thamizhians are struggling to cope up with the loss of Shubasri’s death, the Thamizh Nadu Government has approached the courts to obtain permission to erect your banners.”

Kamal Haasan’s request to PM Modi came a day after the Tamil Nadu government moved the Madras High Court, seeking permission to erect banners to welcome dignitaries during PM Modi-Xi Jinping meet in Mamallapuram in Chennai.