Don’t want to see any one colour dominate national flag, our idea is cohabitation: Kamal Haasan
Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan praised Congress president Rahul Gandhi but stopped short of endorsing him as a potential prime ministerial candidate, even as he made a veiled criticism of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday.
Speaking at the 16th Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, Haasan, the chief of the Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM), said he could see Gandhi playing a bigger role in politics “for India”, just as, he said, people see a role for him (Haasan) in Tamil Nadu.
“Everybody thinks of him. I see possibilities in him. People see possibilities in me for Tamil Nadu and I see possibilities in him for India,” Haasan said, referring to Gandhi.
The MNM chief was less welcoming about the BJP. “As far as saffron goes, we have given it a place [in the national flag]. I want to see my tricolour maintain its texture. I don’t want to see any one colour permeate the flag. Our idea is cohabitation,” Haasan said, referring to the saffron that is associated with parties such as the BJP.
Haasan, one of the most well-known celebrities from Tamil Nadu, said that politicians must understand his state better. “They must understand the genetic DNA of Tamil Nadu... the beauty in all the diversity,” he said.
Haasan’s entry into politics is discussed in parallels with that of Rajinikanth, a peer from the Tamil film industry. Seen by outsiders as rivals, Haasan said he and Rajinikanth are “very much on talking terms” and discuss “only politics.”
But that is as far as the similarities go, he said, calling comparisons unfair since his party is eight months old and has “started walking up to people” while Rajinikanth’s is “still slumbering in the womb.”
While retracing his journey from films to politics, Haasan recounted the role of the politically motivated attacks that came in response to his cinema, which in turn turned increasingly political. “I wish I could have come earlier,” he said of his decision to enter politics.
“Becoming the chief minister of Tamil Nadu is just a part. My end goal is Tamil Nadu, to give back Tamil Nadu its place of pride among the Indian states,” Haasan said.
Sharing an anecdote to describe how he was admired by people, Haasan said that many people offered their house keys to him when his properties were almost sealed. This, he said, fuelled his determination to do something good for his state.
The actor, who has gone through ups and downs, is also certain about another thing: “Even if I fail in politics, Tamil Nadu will not fail.”