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Kamal Haasan Launches Party Makkal Needhi Maiam: ‘I Am Here To Sow The Seed For Tomorrow’


(Photographs by Dani Charles, Sriram Narasimhan)

After months of hinting at his political entry, the official day finally arrives for actor Kamal Haasan. The name of this aspiring politician’s party will be announced today in Madurai.

His political journey begins in Rameswaram, the birthplace of Kalam. Haasan’s day includes meeting the fishermen from the area, paying tribute at Kalam’s memorial, interacting with the public throughout the day, and finally arriving in Madurai where he will hoist his political flag at 6 PM in Madurai’s Othakadai Ground. Post that, he will give a speech to the public, in the presence of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and with Kerala’s CM Pinarayi Vijayan participating via a web telecast.

Ever since the demise of Tamil Nadu’s former CM J Jayalalithaa, Haasan has been vocal about the government. While slamming the current AIADMK party to having public spats with members of the BJP, Haasan also seems to have chosen potential allies, meeting with politicians like Arvind Kejriwal and Pinarayi Vijayan last year. Haasan has reiterated several times that he does not subscribe to right-wing politics, even hoping that his friend and fellow-aspiring politician Rajinikanth would not show “hues of saffron”.

Here’s a timeline of his activity beginning today:

At 7:30 AM, Kamal Haasan prepared to leave his hotel, Hyatt Place Rameswaram, and head towards the ‘House of Kalam’.

Before his arrival, the scene outside ‘House of Kalam’ is quiet, with fewer people waiting there.

When he arrives, fans and media flock to catch a glimpse of him. Some even bring their children to wave out to Haasan.

At 8.15 AM, the actor-politician was scheduled to visit APJ Kalam School. However, less than an hour before his visit, it was reported that he had been denied permission owing to many groups claiming that the visit would ‘politicise’ schools. He, however, makes a brief stop, waving out to fans from his car.

Before meeting the press at 10 AM, Haasan will be meeting fishermen at Ganesh Mahal by 9 AM.

Producer and actor RK Suresh arrives at Gandhi Mahal at 9:30 AM, along with Bigg Boss Tamil contestant and lyricist Snehan. Being huge fans of the actor, the two arrive to support their hero’s political party launch.

Meanwhile, at 9:40 AM, Kamal Haasan takes the stage at Gandhi Mahal, addressing the fishermen from the area. As predicted, the venue is packed with fans and media.

The meeting with the fishermen was reportedly scheduled for an hour. However, it got over within ten minutes, with most of the fishermen disappointed that Kamal Haasan didn’t take any questions. He promises to return though.

Kamal Haasan meets the press at Hyatt Place Rameswaram. Unlike his meeting with the fishermen at Ganesh Mahal, Haasan answers questions at the press meet.

Haasan also comments on being denied permission from visiting Abdul Kalam’s school.

He also addresses his transition from Ulaganayagan to Nammavar:

Almost as per schedule, Haasan reaches Abdul Kalam’s Memorial site to pay tribute at 11:45 AM. Soon after his visit, he is scheduled to address a gathering outside Ramanathapuram Palace.

Arriving at Ramanathapuram Palace after 1 PM, Kamal Haasan requests his fans to protect him like they would protect a ‘lamp in their house’.

Meanwhile, these are some of the reactions towards Haasan’s political venture:

Actor Karthi Sivakumar thinks Haasan will make a progressive leader in politics.

Cricketer Ashwin Ravichandran thinks there might be a change soon.

Bigg Boss Tamil‘s winner, Arav, thinks there’s no one better than Haasan.

Public Interest Lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan thinks Haasan’s intentions are clearly to help the public.

A little before 3PM, Haasan makes a brief stop at Paramakudi. As he’s running late, he’s unable to address fans. Next stop – Manamadurai.

After 4:30 PM, it’s reported that, given that it’ll take him nearly two hours, Kamal Haasan skips the meeting in Manamadurai and directly heads to Madurai to receive Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

At 5PM, fans, celebrities, and the media head to Othakkadai Grounds in Madurai. The stage is set for Kamal Haasan to announce the name of his party and hoist his political party’s flag.

At 7PM, Haasan receives Arvind Kejriwal at the tourist bungalow. The two of them will head to Madurai’s Othakkadai together.

At 7.30 PM, Haasan unveiled the name of his party Makkal Needhi Mayyam and hoisted the party flag.

At 8.30 PM: Delhi Chief Minister and AAP chief, while endorsing the actor-turned-politician, said, “If you want corruption, vote for the DMK & the AIADMK. If you want education, good roads, healthcare, vote for Kamal Haasan. People of Delhi voted against both the BJP, the Congress and gave us the desired number of seats. Tamil Nadu should break that record.”

At 9PM: In his speech, Kamal Haasan said, “Some governments did not let me do my work peacefully. Let bygones be bygones, but they won’t be forgotten. We had to work as if we were doing something bad. But we are now ready to blow the whistle on everything. Look properly and you can see the map of South India in the symbol. The stars represent the people and their justice Are you left or right, I am asked. That’s why, there’s ‘maiam’ (centre) in the name of the party.”

“I wanted to observe some stage etiquette and not divulge things now, but Kejriwal spoke about it already. But he knows I don’t have time and people are not patient. Today is the day we talk. Tomorrow, we will begin our work. I told Chandrababu Naidu that our ideologies may differ, but I would still admire him. Left and right are just labels, we must just work towards doing good for the people. There is no dearth of money, but just of good hearts. I am not a leader of his crowd, but a worker,” he said.

There are so many educated people out there without employment. I am not a scientist, I am a social worker. We will begin our work with the eight villages that we have adopted. If we make a mistake, tell us. We will correct ourselves, he further said.

On the Cauvery issue, he said that people were just provoking each other. “You want water? I can get you blood from there. I am talking about blood donation.”

“I am looking for tomorrow’s leaders. I am 63, I don’t have the hope or wish rule for another 40 years. I am here to sow the seed for tomorrow. People make fun of my age; the ones who don’t have long themselves. My party has been registered with the Election Commission. It will not end with me, it will hold for three to four generations, that’s how it has been constructed. The baton will be handed over to the next runners. There is no permanent leader in this party.”

We don’t need wine shops on every street; you can walk a bit to get your drink. The standard of education is poor. All that needs to change. This is not a platform to provide advice, but to get advice. That’s how our future meetings will work, he added.

On freebies 

“I will make you prosperous enough to buy scooters for yourselves, it will make you want to give freebies to the poor.”

On women’s issues

“We need to think about our mothers, sisters and daughters. Not everyone can be your lover, or your dream girl. A woman needs to be treated equally. Give her space.”


Read: Kamal Spoke About His Beliefs In The 1988 Film ‘Unnal Mudiyum Thambi’: A Bangalore Supporter

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