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Mammootty to venture into politics?

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Mammootty
For the last several months, speculations were rife that Malayalam superstar Mammootty, known to be an activist of ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF), would be offered either the Ernakulam Lok Sabha seat or the Ponnani seat in Muslim-dominated Malappuram district in the forthcoming elections. The speculation began to circulate from July last year, but the actor subsequently rubbished it, saying that he was too busy with movies to enter politics.

Now, a senior Left leader on condition of anonymity reportedly said that though formal talks are yet to begin, LDF leaders are likely to consider Mammootty's name in the forthcoming elections. "We have always supported artistes and cultural activists. And Mammootty is known to be a Left sympathizer. What is wrong if we consider his name?" a leading newspaper quoted the senior leader as saying.

Though Mammootty, also the chairman of the CPM-funded Kairali television channel, was unavailable for any comments on his political entry, he has hinted at a possible jump into politics in his recent interviews as well as his blog launched on New Year's Day. In his first blog post titled 'Politics of Economy', he wrote that no one should take the global economic meltdown lightly. Notably, he made similar remarks on the socio- political situations in three interviews he gave to major Malayalam channels on January 1, 2009.

Meanwhile, many political critics point out that Mammootty's massive popularity as a superstar will not guarantee his political success, since Kerala is known among other South Indian states for not being kind to actors-turned-politicians. For instance, National award winning Malayalam actor Murali contested the 1998 general elections from Alappuzha on a CPM ticket, but lost to veteran Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran by a huge margin. Legendary Malayalam actor Prem Nazir also tried his luck in politics, but could not make an impact.

According to sources, Mammootty is likely to contest the Lok Sabha elections from either Ernakulam, where he is based, or Ponnani or Mancheri seats. External Affairs Minister and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leader E. Ahamed currently represents Ponnani, a stronghold of Muslim League since 1977. LDF believes Mammootty's presence can create trouble for IUML in Ponnani. If Mammootty is fielded from Mancheri, another IUML stronghold, sitting MP and CPM leader T.K. Hamsa may be shifted to Ponnani, as he is quite popular in the Muslim-dominated Malappuram district. Mammootty is currently busy with director Johnny Antony's Pattanathil Bhootham which is expected to hit theatres during Vishu 2009.

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