Over a year after actor Kamal Haasan officially entered politics with his Makkal Needhi Maiam, he has announced his decision not to contest in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections or the bye-polls due in the state. The actor-politician was releasing the party's manifesto in Coimbatore on Sunday when he said that all candidates of the party were 'his faces.'
Soon after the actor-politician released the first list of candidates for the Lok Sabha polls, speculation had been rife on whether he himself would be taking the electoral plunge. He had promised that the second list would spark even greater interest than the first.
However, the actor, who has spoken about rural development and routing corruption over the past year, said, "This palanquin is not for me to ride in, but for my party to ride in. My destination and endeavour is towards Tamil Nadu. That doesn't mean that I'm not interested in this. I'm very interested in it. I want our party's foundation to be very strong and all-encompassing. That's why we want to be present in the parliament to voice Tamil sentiments, emotions and expectations. This voice will echo nearly after 50 years. We've not had a proper, resounding representation."
The party’s manifesto, which was released on Sunday along with the second list of candidates and 18 bye-poll candidates, makes tall promises. The newbie politician promised to 'provide tap water in every household within five years and create zero need to buy drinking water.' The Makkal Needhi Maiam founder also promised to 'wipe out poverty in Tamil Nadu from 60 lakh BPL families and ensure a slum-free, hut-less Tamil Nadu within five years.'
The party which had recently witnessed the exit of entrepreneur CK Kumaravel of the Naturals group has fielded vanilla farmer C Mahendran from Coimbatore. Lyricist and former ‘Bigg Boss Tamil’ contestant Snehan will be the party's candidate from the Sivaganga constituency, up against H Raja (BJP) of the AIADMK-led alliance and Karti Chidambaram (INC) of the DMK-led alliance.
Actor S Ganesh would be contesting on the party's battery torch symbol from Kallakurichi.
Other parliamentary candidates of the party are: N Thangaraj for Kancheepuram (SC), V Shaji for Arani, R Thangavel for Namakkal, Saravanakumar for Erode, J Vijayabaskar for Ramanathapuram, Hariharan for Karur, Sampath Ramdas for Thanjavur, M Azhagar for Madurai, Rangarajan for South Chennai, V Annamalai for Cuddalore, V Muniyasamy for Virudhunagar, K Muneeswaran for Tenkasi(SC), VS Chandrakumar for Tiruppur, R Mookambikai for Pollachi, and Arul Prakasam for Perambalur.