The Makkal Needhi Maiam has asked for the cancellation of the Sulur Assembly bye-election in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore district on May 19 after its founder Kamal Haasan was not allowed to campaign there on Friday, PTI reported.
The party said permission was denied citing law-and-order problems and that many petitions had requested that Haasan not be allowed to campaign in the constituency, MNM General Secretary A Arunachalam said in a letter to the Election Commission of India.
“Much to our dismay, on May 16 the relevant authority has passed an order, denying permission for our president to campaign on the requested day when all arrangements for the campaign were already done, based one the oral assurance,” he added.
Haasan questioned the Coimbatore Police’s decision. “EC says that the situation is not favourable for campaigning,” Hindustan Times quoted him as saying. “If it is so tense, why is the EC conducting bye-polls at all? It should cancel them. This is a political move to stop me.”
The actor created a furore on Monday when he called Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse “free India’s first extremist” and pointed out that Godse was a Hindu. The politician made the remark while campaigning in the Aravakurichi Assembly seat. The BJP and other Hindutva outfits criticised him, and the saffron party urged the Election Commission to ban him from campaigning. A state minister even said that Haasan’s tongue should be cut off.
On Wednesday, slippers were thrown at the politician when he was addressing an election meeting in the Tirupparankundram Assembly constituency. Earlier that day, Haasan had said that his comment was a “historical truth”.
Arunachalam pointed out that there was no violence or law-and-order breakdown at any of Haasan’s campaigns since he made the comment in Aravakurichi. “If indeed there was an issue of law and order, then it is responsibility of the authorities to strengthen the security to prevent any law and order issues,” he told the Election Commission. “Denying permission to campaign is a violation of democratic norms.”