Tamil Nadu

Resource crunch, indirect elections behind Kamal Haasan’s boycott of civic polls

A file photograph of Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan

A file photograph of Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan   | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

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The Makkal Needhi Maiam has opted out of the upcoming local body polls despite earlier stating that that it would contest

The recent decision of Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan to boycott the local body polls appears to have been taken due to a resource crunch down the party organisation line and the State government’s last-minute move to hold indirect polls to the posts of mayor and chairperson of municipal bodies.

Mr. Haasan, who had all along maintained that his party would contest in the civic polls, chose to opt out contending: “Everyone knows that the results of the local body polls are not going to be a reflection of the choice of the people. We will not perform a role in the play that two corrupt parties have already written. The goal of MNM is to form the government in the State in 2021.”

Second-line leaders of the party said that the abolition of direct elections and the staggered poll schedule with the current phase being restricted to rural local bodies in 27 districts meant that MNM had no desire left. “The moment they [the government] removed direct elections for Mayor, we knew it was going to be very tough. We had strong candidates to contest for the Mayor’s post. Candidates who have the capacity to put up a strong fight,” said a party leader.

He also said that the party’s weakness and resource crunch in rural areas was also a major reason for not contesting. In the Lok Sabha polls, MNM candidates fared poorly in almost all rural constituencies.

While party leaders admit that polls could have been used as an opportunity to reach out to rural voters, they say that identifying so many candidates who have the resources to put up a strong fight against the AIADMK and DMK was not going to be easy.

“With State Assembly elections just around the corner [in 2021], we collectively decided that there was little to gain. We would be exhausted in terms of resources and effort,” said another leader.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 6:50:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/resource-crunch-indirect-elections-behind-kamal-haasans-boycott-of-civic-polls/article30296446.ece

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