Question: Will you also follow the freebies culture if you come to power?
Kamal: I promise you that I will make sure you are in a position to buy things on your own and not depend on me to distribute freebies.
Question: How can you fight corruption? Every party says the same.
Kamal: It is not fair to make me fight corruption alone. How is it possible? We all should join hands and fight corruption.
Kamal Haasan says he will now take questions from the people on stage. He says all the meetings should be interactive and it should be a knowledge sharing platform. The first question posed to him is where has he been all this while and why did he decide to join politics now. He responds, “All these years, I was in your heart. Now, I will be at your residence as a lamp in your house to ensure I don't flicker in the winds of corruption.” He is then asked if one can join his party with confidence.
“I will work for my people till my last breath. I’ve promised to serve the people for the rest of my life,” Haasan answers. The third person asks who inspires him - Ambedkar, Gandhi or Periyar. “I like all of them. I like Arvind Kejriwal, Chandrababu Naidu, Pinarayi Vijayan and Barack Obama. These are leaders who are great inspirations,” he says.
Kamal Haasan says that for all these years, he has worked in films for money. “But for the rest of my life, I will work for the people, he says. “We have a future. Let us march towards that future. I am looking for future leaders. I am sowing the seeds for future generations. People ridicule my age. I am always indebted to the love from people. I have never given back to people who have given me so much. I was filled with guilt. My remaining life will be for you and in your service,” he says.
Talking about his party’s logo, which consists of a circle of hands holding one another in colours red, white and black and a star in the Centre, Kamal Haasan says that it represents the six south Indian states working together for the benefit of all. The star in the Centre represents people. He says he does not want to fall in brackets of left or right wing. “I’m centre,” he says.
On the Cauvery verdict, Kamal Hasaan says pitches for dialogue between both states. “If there is a proper dialogue between both states there can be solution on all issues. However, what happens now is politics is being played,” Haasan says. The water sharing formula has been a bone of contention between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka for long, and the Supreme Court had on Friday increased Karnataka’s share at the cost of Tamil Nadu. The decision had not gone down well in the state, and an all-party meeting has been called on the issue.
On his party’s ideology, Kamal Haasan says he wants good quality education for all sections of the society and an end to caste-based politics. “People are not bothered about left or right. What matters is what we do for our people. We should not be silent anymore. People tell me they give Rs 6000 for vote. I will not give money for vote. I don't have money,” he says.
He also thanks “friend” Arvind Kejriwal for helping him start his journey today. “He has fastened our work. He has given us momentum. How long will we wait, how long we will be patient to injustice meted out to us?” he asks. “Whatever I wanted to talk about, Arvind Kejriwal has spoken. He has rightly said that there is no dearth of money but dearth of intentions. There is an army of people who have good intentions. I am not a leader. I am a worker for all of you,” he adds.
Talking about his own political journey, Kejriwal says he had started Aam Aadmi Party four years ago and people of Delhi rejected both BJP and Congress. They gave us 67 of 70 seats, he says. “By the number of people present here for the launch, I am sure Haasan’s party will break the record AAP set in Delhi,” he says.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is now addressing the public gathering. He says that he has known Haasan as an actor and producer till now, but he is also a real-life hero. “He has the courage to take on the communal forces in our country. I congratulate him for giving a great political alternative, but more than that I would like to congratulate the people of Tamil Nadu, who were stuck with only two parties - DMK and AIADMK. They are both corrupt parties. Today, they have an honest alternative. Now, you can vote for an honest party, now you can vote for Kamal Haasan.”
Kamal’s daughter Shruti Haasan has wished her father “all the success on his first step of a million more toward change and political reform”. Quoting his ‘favourite’ Mahatma Gandhi, she tweeted, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” “I’m certain your determination and perseverance toward truth and justice we have witnessed in our family, will now be seen by everyone in our wonderful home of Tamil Nadu,” she wrote.
While Kamal Haasan has given the name and flag of his party, he is yet to tell the public what his party would stand for. The only issue he talked about at the launch event is corruption. In the events leading up to the launch, he has expressed confidence that he would succeed with his Dravidian brand of politics, in stark contrast to the other abhineta-turned-neta Rajinikanth, who plans to pursue a spiritual brand of politics.
Kamal Haasan says that those present for the launch of his political party must be an example to the present day political system. “I will be seeking your suggestion rather than giving you speeches. I have shown you a morsel of the government I can cook for people here. The people who have gathered here are people who have enraged by the corruption prevalent in the state," he says.
The newly founded MAKKAL NEEDHI MAIAM is your party. It’s here to stay, and to make the change we all aspire for. Guide us to serve you. #maiam #makkalneedhimaiam— Kamal Haasan (@ikamalhaasan) February 21, 2018
official website: https://t.co/cql8kgqGkk
twitter: https://t.co/J9ywXrunOb pic.twitter.com/Xza62w4DcC
Kamal Haasan begins his political innings by announcing the name of his party - Makkal Needhi Mayyam (People’s Justice Party) - from a grand stage in Madurai. “This is your party. This is the party of the people. I am just a part of it. I see the faces of a lot of leaders in the crowd here,” he says.
CLICK TO READ | Films and Politics: Two Obsessions of Tamil Nadu That Make for a Heady Cocktail
With superstars Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan having announced their political foray, News18 analyses the close-knit history behind Tamil Nadu's two biggest obsessions - films and politics.
As Kamal Haasan took the political plunge, several flags in white with Tamil Nadu map in black, sporting the tag line "Naalai Namadhe" meaning "Tomorrow is Ours" were seen flying in Rameswaram. Bharatiya Janata Party's Tamil Nadu unit leader Tamilisai Soundararajan told reporters that Kamal appeared to have "started a political party to compete against someone". She said while anyone can float a political party, Tamil Nadu is not in a situation where only Kamal can save it. On the other hand, Dalit party leader Thol. Thirumavalan told reporters that Kamal and Rajinikanth are agents of the BJP to affect DMK in Tamil Nadu. DMK Working President MK Stalin appeared to take a dig at film personalities taking a plunge into politics saying paper flowers which do not have fragrance will bloom during a season but they will wither very soon.
Referring to the lyrics of a song from one of his films, Kamal Haasan said he was prepared to learn if he had to do so "by breaking barriers". Asked what difference he saw between his avatars as an actor and that as a politician, he said the former has a bit of "barter system" in it. "Cinema is a medium to connect with people and so is politics. But there is more responsibility as a politician. It was like barter system-there (in cinema) — their (people's) money for my talent. But there is no such thing here (in politics)," he said. On being hailed by his fans and supporters as 'Nammavar' (our man) ahead of his political plunge, Haasan said it amounts to people "owning me up as their man."
Actor Kamal Haasan said there was "no politics" involved in his visit to the late APJ Abdul Kalam's residence, or his proposed one to a school, which did not fructify as the administration denied him the permission, where the former president had studied. Haasan seemed unperturbed by the denial of the permission to visit the school, saying "nobody can stop me from learning." He hailed Kalam for his patriotism and other qualities, "Kalam is an important person for me...I was attracted by his patriotism and aspirations… There is no politics in the visit to his house," he told a press conference here. "There was no politics in the school visit also. They can stop me from going to school but not from learning."
CLICK TO READ | Kamal Haasan: A New Hope When Tamil Nadu Politics Has Sunk to a New Low
With the announcement of his plans on Wednesday to thousands of fans and VIPs, including Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party founder Arvind Kejriwal, Nammavar is emerging onto the political scene at an unprecedented nadir of partisan bickering and crumbling governance.
"Unless they (Kamal Haasan's party) have a regional agenda of their own which is better than DMK and AIADMK, what space they will occupy? He (Kamal Haasan) must have thought AIADMK will collapse, and he can occupy that space, I don't think that is happening," former Karnataka Chief Minister M Veerappa Moily said. He said, the Congress will be "very strongly" with DMK in Tamil Nadu, adding his party would continue to strive to strengthen its base in the state, even while aligning with the DMK for the present.
Senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily today said that veteran actor Kamal Haasan's party in Tamil Nadu 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 Kamal Haasan's party is very marginal. I don't think there is much space left by these two dominant regional forces".
Actor Kamal Haasan announcing the name of his political party in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, on February 21, 2018.
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