Makkal Needhi Maiam to Contest in Tamil Nadu Bypolls, Announces Kamal Haasan on 64th Birthday

Chennai, November 7: Makkal Needhi Maiam, the party floated earlier in the year by actor-politician Kamal Haasan, will contest in the bypolls for the 18 legislative assembly seats in Tamil Nadu. The decision was confirmed by Haasan on his 64th birthday on Wednesday.

"We don't know when they will happen but we are ready to contest whenever they take place," said Haasan, adding that the MNM is already gearing up for the Lok Sabha seats to be contested in the state next year. Kamal Haasan Says Ready For 2019 Lok Sabha Elections But Averse to Forming Alliances.

The bypolls, whose schedule is yet to be declared by the Election Commission, were necessitated as the Madras High Court recently upheld the disqualification of 18 rebel AIADMK legislators under the anti-defection law.

Haasan, in September, had ruled out contesting the bypolls -- which were then expected to be held only on two seats - Tirvarur and Tiruparankundram - which fall vacant after the demise of DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi and AIADMK veteran AK Bose.

However, 18 more seats are now slated to go for bypolls, turning it into a major mid-term contest in Tamil Nadu politics.

The by-elections are also seen as an acid test for the E Palaniswamy government, which has 116 MLAs in 234-member assembly -- two less than the majority mark. The government, however, is stable for now since the effective strength of the House has been reduced to 214 due to the death of two legislators and the disqualification of 18 MLAs.

In the upcoming bypolls, the AIADMK will have to win at least 2 seats to remain in power. The battle has caught the nerves of the Palaniswami-Panneerselvam led outfit as the 18 rebel incumbent legislators are banking on the popularity of TTV Dinakaran, the nephew of jailed ex-AIADMK chief V Sasikala.

Dinakaran, who has floated his own party - AMMK - had emerged as a major political player in December 2017, when he won the RK Nagar seat of late Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa with a margin of more than 40,000 votes.