Kamal’s party, Makkal Neethi Maiam, is born

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on February 22, 2018

Kamal Haasan addresses a gathering at Paramakudi in Ramanathapuram district, on Wednesday   -  L Balachandar

Party flag symbolises unity of southern States; Kejriwal attends launch; Pinarayi sends wishes

Actor Kamal Haasan on Wednesday launched his political party, the Makkal Neethi Maiam (Centre for People’s Justice), at a public meeting in Madurai. He also unveiled his party flag — six hands, alternating in red and white, joined together in a circle with a star in the middle.

It was in Madurai that other actor-turned-politicians such as MG Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa launched their political careers.

Present on the dais at the public meeting was Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Addressing the gathering of thousands, Haasan said: “The party is here to stay and make changes we all aspire for. Guide us to serve you.”

“People ask me what my party’s manifesto is,” he asked. “When Chandrababu Naidu wished me through a video message, I asked him what a party’s manifesto should be. He told me, all parties have the same goal: people’s welfare,” he said, and added that that is what he intends to do.

Haasan said his party manifesto will focus on quality education for all, employment, a caste-less and cashless politics devoid of corruption, and electricity to all. “I want to say that I’m not a leader but a slave who will listen to people. This is my promise.”

The actor, who goes by the sobriquet ‘ulaganayagan’ (world leader), said his intention was not to deliver speeches but begin a platform for gaining advice, and inviting suggestions and complaints from people. “People are the real leaders, I’m just a tool,” the actor-turned-politician said.

He said the people gathered were enraged by the corruption that had taken over the State. He pointed out that by launching the party, he has shown a glimpse of the kind of government he wanted to provide for the people. “It is not a one day celebration, we have a lot of duties to fulfil,” he added.

As a first step, Haasan said he had adopted eight villages, which will be model villages. Explaining the meaning of his flag, he said it indicated the six South Indian States, and the star at the centre denoted the people. “It is a party that centres around the people. I’m not leaning either left or right, but right at the centre. That is what ‘Maiam’ signifies,” he added. “I did not want to end this with me. What I’m looking for is the future leader and this is just a seed that will grow for at least next four generations,” he said.

Haasan also announced the constitution of the party’s high-level committee. CK Kumaravel, a Chennai-based businessman running salon chain Naturals; Gnanasambandam, Tamil scholar and professor; and actor Sripriya Rajkumar have joined the party.

AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and party leader Somnath Bharti, and farmer leader PR Pandian also participated in the event.

Kejriwal congratulated Haasan and his team for starting the great political alternative for the two Dravidian parties in the State. “What Kamal is proposing is an honest government, which will transform the State and I can see that people are ready for it,” he said.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in message that Kamal, as an actor, had been a great unifying force between the two States. Tamil Nadu, which is known for its political reformist movements, has been a great influence on Kerala too.

Earlier today, Kamal Haasan visited the late President APJ Abdul Kalam’s house at Rameswaram and paid respects. Later he met the fishermen and interacted with them before he left for Madurai. En route to Madurai, he addressed meetings at his native Paramakudi, and at Manamadurai and Ramanathapuram.

Published on February 21, 2018

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