The Makkal Needhi Maiam, founded by actor turned politician Kamal Haasan has already begun the interviewing process for candidates who will contest in the upcoming assembly elections. A senior leader in the party told TNM that the first batch of 30 candidates will be announced in December, in order to ensure they have ample time to campaign in their constituencies.
Last week, in the party‚Äôs General Body and Executive Committee meeting, Vice President R Mahendran announced that Kamal Haasan will be the party's Chief Ministerial candidate. Several resolutions were passed by the party, including those related to its participation in the 2021 elections. Simultaneously, the party has also begun work to identify candidates across districts.
"The process to identify the first 30 candidates has already begun. The first set of interviews are in process. After the local functionaries come to a decision, the candidates will be interviewed by Kamal Haasan and a high level panel," says CK Kumaravel, owner of Natural Salons and a leader in the party. "15 candidates chosen will be existing party members while 15 others will be those who have done a great deal for their communities but have no political attachments," he adds
Kumaravel explains that the candidates chosen from outside the party are likely to be 'political activists' or retired bureaucrats.
"They get a platform to contest via our party and we get to add some flavour to our team. They should have done notable work in their respective fields and have a clean slate when it comes to corruption," says Kumaravel. "The panel selecting them will have a mix of insiders and outsiders. We are looking to rope former election commissioners to help conduct the final interviews - someone with a good understanding and reputation," he adds.
When it comes to possible allies however, the party is still mulling over how to proceed.
"If Rajinikanth had come we were ready to form an alliance with him. But there has been no concrete move there. We don't believe in handing over money for an alliance. We are looking at smaller groups like the Abdul Kalam party and Satta Panchayat Iyakkam right now," he adds.
MNM got a four percent vote share in the Parliament elections, which was more than they expected, says Kumaravel.
"If you get into the details, we have done well in Chennai, Coimbatore, Salem, Madurai, Trichy, Tirupur and Erode," he says. "In some polling booths we have got a 38% vote share. This will only improve in the assembly polls," he adds.