A day after Union Minister Smriti Irani challenged Makkal Needi Maiam (MNM) chief Kamal Haasan for an open debate with BJP’s Vanathi Srinivasan, CK Kumaravel, MNM’s general secretary — propaganda, responded, stating that Kamal would first like to debate with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Both Kamal Haasan and Vanathi Srinivasan are contesting from Coimbatore South constituency in Tamil Nadu.
In a press release issued on March 28, Kumaravel said that MNM accepts Smriti Irani’s challenge but first Kamal will debate with Narendra Modi, then with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and then with BJP’s cabinet of Ministers. “And at last, he will debate with Vanathi Srinivasan. Smriti Irani can please go ahead and arrange for the debate,” he wrote, adding “Members from the MNM’s students wing would suffice to debate with Vanathi, who contested from Coimbatore South twice and lost.”
Smriti Irani, who was campaigning in Coimbatore South for BJP candidate Vanathi Srinivasan on Saturday, had challenged actor and Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan to have an open debate with the candidate. This came after Kamal took on the Union government and took up issues of development in his campaigns.
"I challenge Kamal Haasan to come for a debate with Vanathi Srinivasan, to prove to the people who it is that really knows the issues well, gives solutions and implements policies,” she said. Reeling out statistics on infrastructure development, she said the Union government has built 10 crore toilets nationwide, of which 90 lakh was in Tamil Nadu. Listing out some of the Union government schemes that allegedly benefited the people of Tamil Nadu, Smriti Irani said, “All this was possible because the people of India blessed and elected Narendra Modi as Prime Minister, who chose to be the first public servant of the nation.”
Appealing to the people to cast their votes for the BJP on April 6, Smriti Irani said, "Lakshmi (goddess of wealth) is coming not with a torch (MNM’s party symbol), but on Kamal (Lotus).” Later, replying to a question from reporters on why she targeted only Kamal Hassan when other parties, including Congress, were in the fray, she quipped, "Congress is not at all in the picture.”
(With inputs from PTI)