Several months of suspense finally ended on Wednesday when veteran actor Kamal Haasan launched his own political party at a rally in Madurai. Haasan's political party, Makkal Needhi Maiam, which roughly translates to Centre for People's Justice, will fight corruption and ensure good governance devoid of caste and communal politics, PTI reported.
While unfurling the party flag, Haasan spoke on the symbolism behind it, "If you look closer you can find the map of south India map in it, the six hands refer to six southern states..the star at the centre refers to the people..."
Even before Haasan launched his party at the Madurai rally, which was also attended by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, his political entry got reactions from the two Dravidian parties as well as the BJP and Congress.
AIADMK and DMK
The ruling AIADMK's ministers were unequivocal in criticising Haasan's move to enter politics, in the process finding common ground with arch-rival DMK. Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar said though DMK was his party's arch rival, he yet concurred with the paper flower comment of Stalin.
"It will not bloom, nor give fragrance and it will continue to be a paper flower," Jayakumar was quoted as saying. He also added the seed (an apparent reference to the actor) is genetically modified (GM) which is not useful for anyone and which is not used in India."
"He does not have the maturity of a leader. Is school a place to do politics?," Jayakumar asked referring to the effort of the actor to visit a school at Rameswaram where late president APJ Abdul Kalam studied. State Revenue Minister RB Udayakumar took potshots at Haasan for going to Rameswaram and quipped he did so to wash away his sins and that only the people have to say if he has done that.
On Tuesday, DMK working president MK Stalin had likened Haasan and Rajinikanth, who has also promised to enter politics soon, to paper flowers.
"Owing to seasonal changes some flowers may suddenly bloom and later wither. Similarly, in Tamil Nadu's political arena too glamorous paper flowers may bloom," he had said in an apparent reference to the political entry of the two mega stars.
Senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily on Wednesday said that Haasan's party does not have much political space to grow and sees its prospects on its own steam "very marginal".
The former Union minister, who had served as Congress in-charge of the southern state many years ago, said DMK and AIADMK are dominant regional political parties in the state, where superstar Rajinikanth has also announced plans to float his own outfit.
"So, I don't think there will be much (political) space left for other regional parties, unless they align with these mainstream regional parties (DMK and AIADMK)," Moily told PTI.
"I think the prospects for Haasan's party is very marginal. I don't think there is much space left by these two dominant regional forces."
"Unless they (Haasan's party) have a regional agenda of their own which is better than DMK and AIADMK, what space they will occupy? He (Haasan) must have thought AIADMK will collapse, and he can occupy that space, I don't think that is happening," Moily said.
BJP Tamil Nadu unit chief Tamilisai Soundararajan said Haasan may make it to the headlines but "could not become a leader". The saffron party leader said she felt the actor has started a party in haste bringing the "on-screen competition to the political landscape," a reference to Haasan's co-actor Rajinikanth's political entry.
Despite Soundararajan's statement, the party has adopted a 'wait and watch' policy with Haasan's political debut, The Indian Express reported.
“We are not worried. The BJP has its own support base and ideological attraction, and we will go forward with that. We are closely watching the situation. It is still evolving,” BJP general secretary P Muralidhar Rao, in charge of Tamil Nadu, was quoted as saying.
VCK chief Thol Thirumavalavan, while extending his greetings, said only after the actor spelt out his policies could his party think of aligning with him. VCK, a Dalit outfit, is curently not alligned any of the two Dravidian parties.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Feb 22, 2018 08:04 AM