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Candidate tests positive, shifts campaign online

Santhosh Babu is currently in hospital

Bureaucrat-turned-politician Santhosh Babu, who joined Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam and is contesting from the Velachery constituency, announced on Twitter that he had tested positive for COVID-19. He admitted himself into a hospital.

“I have asked my family members and those who had been campaigning with me to get themselves tested. I have already started campaigning online,” Dr. Babu told The Hindu. On Thursday, he interacted with residents from the hospital through WhatsApp video calls. “From tomorrow, the plan is to go live on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media forums,” he said.

Mr. Babu, who is known for pushing the concept of the paperless office during his stint as a bureaucrat, now clearly has an opportunity to test its viability in the largest canvas possible — the Assembly election.

He has asked his team members to issue pamphlets to all the voters of the constituency. The pamphlets will have a QR code which will direct the user to his website, which has all relevant details, including his manifesto. Since his entire campaign will happen online, he is also working on 3D visuals that will go live in a day or two. Mr. Haasan initially announced that Dr. Babu would contest from another city seat, and later announced that he would contest from Velachery. Last year, he took voluntary retirement from government service, with eight years to go for retirement, in protest against the interference of the government in the ₹2,000-crore BharatNet project.

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