‘Narendra Modi’s lotus cannot bloom here’: Seeman, the man dubbed as Tamil Nadu’s own Bal Thackeray

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Updated: Mar 30, 2021 4:08 PM

Tamil Nadu Elections 2021: Seeman's NTK expanded its base from 1 per cent in 2016 to 4 per cent in 2019. In 2016 assembly election, the NTK's total votes were 460,089 which went up to 16,45,222 in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Naam Tamilar Katchi chief Seeman

Tamil Nadu Election 2021: In star-studded politics of Tamil Nadu is a name — the Naam Tamilar Katchi — quietly expanding its base in the state largely divided into two electoral blocks – DMK and AIADMK. While a majority of votes may revolve around two dominant parties that were once headed by two titans — M Karunanidhi and J Jayalalitha — smaller parties kept sprouting up in the state in the presence of a political vacuum. However, there is one stark difference between the parties — TTV Dhinakaran’s AMMK, Kamal Haasan’s MNM — that came up recently and the Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK). While the formers, keeping political arithmetic in mind, allied with others, NTK headed by Seeman never joined any alliance no matter which way the wind was blowing. This time too, Seeman has fielded candidates in all the 234 constituencies of Tamil Nadu. Once follower of the Periyar ideology and atheism, Seeman now talks about Tamil nationalism. His posters with vibhooti on the forehead, his temple visits and the sharp bend towards a puritan Tamil identity has earned him the title of – ‘Bal Thackeray of Tamil Nadu’.

Seeman’s NTK expanded its base from 1 per cent in 2016 to 4 per cent in 2019. In 2016 assembly election, the NTK’s total votes were 460,089 which went up to 16,45,222 in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. It, however, did not win any seat in either of of the elections. Speaking on his candidates in the assembly polls, Seeman told The Indian Express that his leaders do not need to spend more than Rs 2 or 3 lakh each. The NTK, he said, raises funds from people and it has got Rs 15 lakh from crowdsourcing. He further said that his candidates were people who were denied a space in popular politics. Fifty per cent candidates of NTK are women, 13 Muslims, 55 Dalits and one Brahmin.

Opinion poll surveys predict an edge for MK Stalin-led DMK, which is taking on ruling AIADMK-BJP. Seeman was once considered close to M Karunanidhi (in his early days) and J Jayalalithaa. Seeman tells IE that the NTK never thought of aligning with either the DMK or AIADMK, or even the newer parties of Dhinakaran or Kamal Haasan. He says he needed absolute freedom to fight for the freedom of weaker sections and if he joins hands with the powerful parties then it wouldn’t be helpful to the poor. “My aim is not to make Kamal or TTV the Chief Minister,” he tells IE.

On the BJP trying to expand in Tamil Nadu, Seeman says that the saffron party would not even be in the state if Jayalalithaa was alive and it would still get nowhere. The BJP, he says, will have to ride piggyback on the AIADMK. “They are the biggest party in India, why don’t they contest alone like I do?” he asks. “Hindutva ideology is not in our genes. We have been fighting them for about 3,000 years, from the time of Nedunjcheliyan I (a Pandya king) and Cheran Senguttuvan (a popular Chera ruler from the Sangam age). So Narendra Modi’s lotus cannot bloom here. Even if Nadda (BJP chief) makes 100 visits to Tamil Nadu, their votes will be below NOTA,” Seeman tells IE.

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