Actor-politician Kamal Haasan will contest the Tamil Nadu Assembly election with his MNM (File)

Chennai:

Actor-politician Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) will begin accepting online applications from party members as it selects candidates for the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Assembly elections, it was announced Monday evening.

Applications will open Sunday, February 21, and potential candidates must pay Rs 25,000 to be considered, the party said, adding that non-party members could also apply or be nominated.

The Tamil Nadu and Puducherry elections are scheduled for May.

Last month Kamal Haasan, who is recovering from a follow-up surgery in connection with a mild infection of his right leg bone, said his party had been allotted the “battery torch” symbol.

The party used the same symbol when it contested the 2019 Lok Sabha election – the actor’s electoral debut – and picked up a vote share of 3.77 per cent.

“We have been allotted torchlight symbol for all the 234 assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu,” Kamal Haasan said in a video message posted on his Twitter handle.

The MNM has also authorised Kamal Haasan, who has been made the party’s “permanent president”, to decide on electoral strategies for the forthcoming elections.

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This includes electoral alliance and selection of candidates, the party has said.

Before his surgery put a temporary stop to his activities, Kamal Haasan had been active on the campaign trail; early last month he drew large crowds to a rally in Vellore. He has high hopes of developing Tamil Nadu into a state where people might not need to visit government offices at all.

“It is a great idea. When implemented, you will realise how much it would improve the profile of economics in world stage… it is making e-governance possible, pragmatic,” he told NDTV in an exclusive interview. “Call it populism… the benefits would be exponential,” he added.

E-governance was one of the key promises of the Narendra Modi government, but Kamal Haasan is clear that Tamil Nadu has shown up the BJP as “irrelevant”.

Kamal Haasan’s MNM, launched in February 2018, is expected to be X-factor in this election – the first since the deaths of two giants in Tamil Nadu politics – J Jayalalithaa and M Karunanidhi.

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