Kamal Haasan, the actor and founder of political party Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM), lost the legislative Assembly poll battle in Tamil Nadu by a slim margin of 1,540 votes to Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Vanathi Srinivasan in Coimbatore South constituency on Sunday.
With 52,627 votes, Srinivasan defeated Haasan, while pushing Congress candidate Mayura S Jayakumar to the third position with 41,663 votes.
Haasan launched MNM in Madurai in 2018.
Vanathi, a lawyer by profession, has been associated with the BJP for over three decades and is the national president of the party’s women’s wing. Coimbatore South is her home constituency.
While the MNM had contested in the 2019 general election from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and failed to secure a single seat, party president Haasan made his electoral debut with the Tamil Nadu legislative Assembly elections.
During the 2019 parliamentary elections, MNM vice president R Mahendran, who had contested from Coimbatore, had stood third with over one lakh votes.
On March 12, MNM made the surprising announcement that Haasan will be contesting elections from Coimbatore South instead of Chennai.
According to a report by The Hindu, the Coimbatore South constituency was “deemed safe” by the MNM as the Dravidian majors had given up their seats to their allies BJP and Congress. Initially, the MNM had planned to pitch Haasan from constituencies in South Chennai which had strong candidates from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.
Haasan accepted the people’s mandate and expressed his gratitude towards “voters, the members of the House of Representatives and to the Coalition Party” through a tweet on Sunday night after the counting of all rounds were over.
“‘Let’s reorganize Tamil Nadu’ is not an election slogan. That is the dream of the People’s Justice Center. We will continue to stand on the field to protect the soil, language and people,” he wrote.
Polls were held in Tamil Nadu on April 6 and the counting of votes took place on Sunday.
The DMK, with MK Stalin as their chief ministerial candidate, won the Tamil Nadu legislative Assembly with a majority of 133 seats, defeating AIADMK with 66 seats after a decade. The Congress secured 18 seats. While the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the CPI won two seats each, the MNM again failed to secure a single seat.