Claiming MGR legacy, Kamal Haasan may contest from Alandur in 2021

Claiming MGR legacy, Kamal Haasan may contest from Alandur in 2021
Chennai Metro commuters were in for a surprise when actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan hopped on a train on Wednesday evening. Dressed in a blue shirt, the Makkal Needhi Maiam chief Kamal Haasan took the metro train from Teynampet to Alandur. Although the ride- a total of five stops - was short, the final destination was perhaps symbolic, triggering speculation that Kamal was planning to contest from the Alandur constituency in the Assembly election.  The Alandur Assembly constituency, which falls under the Kancheepuram district, has largely alternated between the two Dravidian parties, and the seat is presently represented by DMK’s TM Anbarasan. The Alandur Assembly seat consists of areas like Nanganallur, Adambakkam, Palavanthangal, Nandambakkam, Manapakkam, St Thomas Mount, Pallavaram.  In fact the Assembly constituency, which was earlier known as Parangimalai, was once former Chief Minister MG Ramachandran’s seat, with the AIADMK founder having won for the first time in 1967 and then in 1971.  So it wasn’t surprising that Kamal Haasan, who has tried to stake claim to MGR’s legacy, recalled the former CM. While launching the third leg of his campaign on Wednesday, Kamal said, “A part of MGR's political journey began from here and I am happy that my journey also starts from here.”   Following MGR’s footsteps? Senior journalist Priyan Kalki says that Kamal Haasan is hoping the MGR factor would translate into votes for him. He is also banking on the votes of a sizable Brahmin population in the constituency to see him through.  However, even though Alandur has a diverse population of dominant caste votes and minority votes there is possibility for the vote bank to shift, says Priyan. “Apart from the MGR factor, Kamal may also contest in Alandur because of dominant caste votes in Nanganallur and Adambakkam but we cannot deny that some of them may favour the BJP alliance. Muslim and Christian votes may also get split with DMK. So, it will still be a tough contest,” he says. Priyan also points out that the MNM had earlier stuck posters in the area requesting residents to give a missed call if they wanted Kamal to contest from the constituency. “The party reportedly received a good number of missed calls and that’s the reason Kamal may be fielded from Alandur. The party also received a decent vote share in South Chennai and Sriperumbudur constituency in 2019,” he says. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Makkal Needhi Maiam candidate ended up third in the Sriperumbudur parliamentary constituency, with a vote share of 9.67%. The party’s M Sridhar, a political novice, lost to senior DMK leader and former Union Minister TR Baalu.  Another reason Kamal may choose Alandur is because his party had put up an impressive fight in urban seats in 2019. In Chennai South, MNM’s R Rangarajan polled 12.03% of the total votes. However, if Kamal chooses to contest he will still have to fight the Dravidian heavyweights in what has traditionally been their turf war. Priyan says, “There is speculation that AIADMK's Valarmathi and DMK's Anbarasan, who have previously won the Assembly seat, have asked for Alandur. So if they get the seat then it will be a tough fight between the three leaders.” 

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