CHENNAI: Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) founder Kamal Haasan on Sunday thanked the Election Commission of India for allotting his party the symbol of a battery-operated torch. He said it was “appropriate” and that his party would endeavour to be the ‘torch-bearer’ for a new era in Tamil Nadu and Indian politics.
“MNM thanks the Election Commission for granting us the ‘Battery Torch’ symbol for the forthcoming elections. So appropriate. MNM will endeavour to be the ‘Torch-Bearer’ for a new era in TN and Indian politics,” Kamal Haasan tweeted.
Poking fun at him, State Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar said "AIADMK is a beacon light for the world. Torch-light can only light up a very small area."
The actor launched his political party MNM last year and had already announced they would be contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Speaking to reporters last month, he had said that the party would release the names of Lok Sabha candidates in phases and that youth will get preference in the selection.
The MNM had reportedly approached the EC in mid-February to get a party symbol for contesting from all the 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu and one seat in neighbouring Puducherry. Kamal has been receiving applications for contesting the polls from his party workers and outsiders. His attempt to forge an electoral alliance with the Congress did not fructify and his party is contesting alone.
Speaking to reporters here on Sunday. Kamal said his desire is that the 'torch-light' should shine in all the 40 constituencies and aiming for this he would begin the process of selecting the candidates from March 11 to 15. Over 1,130 applications have been received from aspirants so far.
Asked if he would seek support from his friend and actor Rajinikanth for the polls, he replied, "More than asking, what is significant is support should be forthcoming." "Yes, I am confident," he replied, when asked if Rajini would support him.
On banning liquor, the MNM leader said it was not possible to immediately implement prohibition and only a phased dry law was possible. "Our alliance is very strong, it is with the people," he said when asked about scope for forging ties with other outfits.
The bypolls are considered crucial as it would have a bearing on the stability of the AIADMK government which needs to win a sizeable number of seats to retain its majority in the 234-member House. AIADMK presently may have upto 114 members while the DMK (88) and its allies together have 97 members in the Assembly with a vacancy of 21 seats, 18 of which fell vacant following disqualification of rebel ruling party MLAs....