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MNM fares well in urban pockets, NTK in rural areas

Both come third in some constituencies; victory for Tamil nationalism: Seeman

Actor Kamal Haasan, whose party Makkal Needhi Maiam made its debut in the Lok Sabha election and the Assembly bypolls promising to challenge the status quo in Dravidian politics, fared better in many urban pockets, even coming third in some Parliamentary constituencies. However, the party could only garner an estimated contested vote share of about 3.62% (as of 5 p.m. on Thursday), much below its own expectations of a vote share of over 8%, something actor Vijayakant’s DMDK had done in 2006.

Its best performance as of 10 p.m. was in Coimbatore, where its candidate polled 1.44 lakh votes, followed by South Chennai, where it got over 1.35 lakh votes. In the remaining two seats in Chennai, its candidates came third, behind the PMK and the DMDK. In all, it came third in 9 seats.

The party’s second-line leaders did not react to its performance as Mr. Haasan is scheduled to address a press conference on Friday. In rural pockets, the party’s penetration has been relatively less and in the 22 Assembly constituencies where byelections were held, it did not post any big numbers indicating that it may be a long haul for the actor-politician before he is able to dent the fortress built by the two Dravidian majors.

Contrasting this was the performance of the Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK) headed by film director Seeman, which polled an estimated vote share of 3.85% (as of 5 p.m. on Thursday), and polled better in some semi-urban and rural areas in the Lok Sabha elections. Candidates of the party were in the third place in four constituencies.

‘Multiplied vote share’

NTK general secretary Tada Chandrasekaran said the party had multiplied its vote share by almost five times since they first contested in the State Assembly elections in 2016.

“We got around 1.1% (4,40,000 votes) in 2016. This time around, it looks like we will get around 20 lakh votes by time the results are fully announced. This is a proof that the aversion to Dravidian ideology is growing in the State. This is a victory for Tamil nationalism,” claimed Mr. Chandrasekaran. He said that while other parties may have garnered similar percentage of votes, NTK did not bribe voters.

“There were even allegations against the AMMK that they distributed money. We got these votes without bribing people. In the next elections, we will work harder,” he said.

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