Actor Kamal Hassan’s party, Makkal Needhi Mayyam (MNM), has joined the DMK-led alliance for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. The alliance has allocated MNM one seat, which is yet to be decided. Though the actor will not contest the elections, he has vowed to tour all the 40 Lok Sabha constituencies in Tamil Nadu (39) and Puducherry, it is officially learnt. 

This development is pretty much on expected lines. For some days, political circles have been abuzz with talk that Kamal Hassan wanted to contest from either Chennai or Coimbatore, but it was getting clear that he would get neither.

Chennai, which comprises three Lok Sabha constituencies, is a DMK stronghold. As things stand today, it appears that South Chennai (where DMK’s Thamizhachi Thangapandian is the sitting MP), one of the most sought-after constituencies in the state, is likely to see a tough fight, regardless of the contestants. Kamal Hassan was keen on contesting from the seat, where Brahmins constitute 10 per cent of the 20-lakh-odd population.

The Communist parties, who are part of the DMK-led alliance, are seeking Coimbatore, it is learnt. 

While it was becoming clear that Kamal Hassan would not get his wish to contest from Chennai, the alliance has offered him a Rajya Sabha seat. Also, MNM’s candidate will contest the elections under the party’s symbol — battery torch. Earlier, there were rumours that the party might be asked to contest under DMK’s ‘rising sun’ symbol, but Kamal Hassan has got his way. 

MNM has appointed Catalyst PR, founded by Ramkumar Singaram, as the official PR agency for press co-ordination. 

Meanwhile, the DMK has also sealed agreements with Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) for the alliance, giving them two and one seat respectively. DMK had earlier signed up with the two Communist parties, CPI and CPM, allotting them two seats each. 

With this, the DMK-led alliance has pretty much finalised seat-sharing agreements, except with its main partner, the Congress. It is learnt that the DMK has offered Congress eight seats, including the one in Puducherry — two less than in 2019. 

The ADMK, whose only alliance partner is the SDPI (Social Democratic Party of India), a party of the Islamic community, is yet to finalise seat-sharing agreements with others. 

Nor has the BJP finalised its alliance partners. It is learnt that the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) is veering towards the BJP, but the political grapevine has it that it may walk towards BJP — so that the party boss, former union health minister, Anbumani Ramadoss, can become a cabinet minister again. 

The DMDK, a party founded by the late actor Vijayakant, is also yet to make its stand clear as to whether it will join ADMK or BJP.