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Actor Vijays fans to contest in TN local body polls as independents

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Buoyed by the success in rural local body polls last year, fans of popular Tamil actor Vijay will contest the ensuing elections to urban civic bodies in Tamil Nadu as independent candidates, in what is seen as a prelude to the film stars much talked about political plunge.

The fans have sought the actors permission to use the flag and name of Thalapathy Vijay Makkal Iyakkam (TVMI), the fans club association, during the campaign. The move by fans of actor Vijay comes as political parties in Tamil Nadu are bracing to face the elections to urban local bodies which are likely to be held in February.

In the elections held to rural local bodies in nine districts in October last year, as many as 169 members of TVMI contested the polls for various posts, and 115 were elected. The performance of actor Vijays fan were significant as their victory came even as parties like Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) of actor Kamal Haasan and Naam Tamizhar Katchi (NTK) failed to make any headway in the polls.

Several fans have approached the association expressing interest to contest in urban local body elections. The 2021 model of entering the fray as independent candidates will be followed this time as well. Interested persons will file nomination papers in their respective areas, Bussy Anand, general secretary of TVMI toldDeccan Herald.

He said the association has sought the actors permission for the proposal by fans. He will certainly give his go-ahead like last time. Once he gives his nod, candidates will use the picture of Vijay, the associations flag, and the name during the campaign. People voted for him (Vijay) then and they will vote for him now, Anand added.

Fans entering the fray as independent candidates are being viewed as baby steps by the actor who seems interested in taking a plunge into politics. Vijay is one of the popular actors of Tamil cinema, which has deep connections with the political landscape of the state.

At least three Chief Ministers M Karunanidhi, MG Ramachandran, and J Jayalalithaa had an innate connection with the Tamil cinema before they ruled the state.ProfRamu Manivannan, Head of the Department of Politics and Public Administration, University of Madras, told DH that the actor was testing the political waters through his fans.

Vijay and his father (director SA Chandrashekar) are quite ambitious though they speak in different voices. Vijay is certainly testing the political waters in a gradual manner. Though he may not be directly involved, the whole business is done in his name. As a result, he has to face both direct and indirect challenges, ProfManivannan told DH.

The decision by the actors fans to jump into electoral politics in October last year surprised many with Vijay resisting temptations from his supporters to float a party. His fans had demanded that Vijay enter politics and contest the 2021 elections, but the actor never paid heed to their request.

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