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Kamal Haasan launches his new party ‘Makkal Needhi Maiam’ with Kejriwal by his side

Kamal Haasan has avoided the word Dravidian in the name of his party and has preferred the term Makkal (people) to denote inclusiveness.

india Updated: Feb 21, 2018 23:23 IST
KV Lakshmana
KV Lakshmana
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Kamal Haasan,Kamal Haasan party launch,Makkal Needhi Maiam
Kamal Haasan with Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal during the launch his political party in Madurai.(PTI Photo)

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal played the supporting actor’s role in Kamal Haasan’s first day first show as real-life politician in Madurai on Wednesday where he launched his political party – Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM)-- in front of a huge gathering of frenzied fans and supporters.

With this, Haasan joined a long list of film stars who switched over to politics, especially in the southern states. His announcement of the name of his party MNM was greeted with loud whistles, cheers and claps that almost drowning his voice.

Haasan has avoided the word Dravidian in the name of his party and has preferred the term Makkal (people) to denote inclusiveness and even his party symbol on the flag – joined hands in red, white and black colour scheme --denotes unity and fight for justice for the people of Tamil Nadu, said a person from Haasan’s team who did not want to be named . “I am not a thalaiva (leader or boss), I am one among you,” Haasan’s opening remarks after unfurling the party flag sets the tone and tenor of his political messaging.

While Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Kejriwal shared the stage with Haasan, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan sent his greeting to the actor -- an endorsement of Haasan’s left of centre political stance. Haasan has in the past made it clear that he will not go towards the right-wing BJP.

Another notable “fan” to send his good wishes to the actor was Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who has of late has been breathing fire against ally BJP and the central government for neglecting his state in the Union budget .

In his speech, Kejriwal singled out corruption and communalism as the key malaise afflicting the country and said honest leaders like Kamal Haasan can be the real alternative to well-entrenched political interests. Kejriwal firmly endorsed Haasan’s party tagline “Naalai Namadhu” – tomorrow is ours.

Earlier, addressing his first political rally, Haasan said, “The past will remain the past, but it will not be forgotten. How long can we keep waiting for justice?”

People gather in support of Kamal Haasan as he announces the launch of his political party 'Makkal Neethi Maiyam', in Madurai. (PTI Photo)

“Don’t think, left or right, just think of people and their welfare, this is the advise Chandrababu Naidu gave me when we spoke last night,” he told the huge gathering of fans and supporters at the Madurai rally.

“Now I have the person who has done it, won the trust of the people and working for the people, sitting beside me (Kejriwal), so I am sure I can do it, with your support for all of us,” he said.

On the Cauvery issue, Haasan said, “So far the politicians on either side were playing politics only. But in a genuine spirit of dialogue and give and take, it can be solved. See during Tsunami, floods and cyclone, people from Bangalore donated blood for us, what is water,” he pointed out.

“After a full career in films, after making so much money, it is time I repaid to you the people, to the society. Which is why, I am coming into politics, not as a thalaivar, but as one among you,” Haasan said.

Earlier, Kejriwal, speaking in English, described Haasan as a real-life hero, “who has the courage to speak against injustice and communal forces in the country”.

If you want corruption, vote for DMK and AIADMK. If you want schools, road, water, electricity vote for Kamal Haasan, the Delhi chief minister said.

All the trappings of the film world – music, dance, emotions, drama and dialogues — were in full evidence as Haasan began his political journey with a breakfast meeting with the family of former president APJ Abdul Kalam in their Rameshwaram home.

Haasan said he was greatly inspired by Kalam, his simplicity and humble lifestyle. He tweeted, “glad to start my journey from a great man’s simple abode”.

First Published: Feb 21, 2018 23:22 IST