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Kamal Haasan comes third in urban centres

May 25, 2019

After the last of the 2019 poll wagons ground to a halt, Kamal Haasan told media: “Political analysts say if we get 5% votes, we’re in the game. I think we will cross the 10% mark.”

With a vote share of 3.72%, Kamal’s Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) seems to have found a place closer to analysts’ projections than its founder’s self-assessment.

Beyond the numbers, what’s unmissable about MNM is that it has struck a chord in urban centres.

In Coimbatore, MNM candidate R Mahendran polled 1.45 lakh votes. In three of the Chennai constituencies, its candidates crossed the 1-lakh mark and in another it came close. In all these constituencies, MNM stood third. In the villages, however, the party failed to make an impact.

This isn’t a surprise, as Kamal, right from the time he announced his party, was seen as an urban phenomenon with limited rural reach.

His angst at the “corrupt and unjust” system found a resonance among city dwellers who love to crib yet do little about it.

In him they found a medium and a message— and a glamorous one at that. This also shows that the lessons he took from AAP’s urban-centric leader Arvind Kejriwal has worked. And that holds out hope for him.

Because the 2019 elections, by Kamal’s own admission, is a dress rehearsal for the 2021 assembly polls.