Kamal Haasan Takes the Political Plunge With ‘Makkal Needhi Maiam’

Kamal Haasan's Political Entry

The Tamil Nadu political landscape has a new entrant in veteran actor – Kamal Haasan. After a prolonged period of speculation and wait, the actor has announced that his political party will see the light of day on 21 February.

The actor-turned-politician had become increasingly critical of the Tamil Nadu government following the death of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa.

In November last year, he had confirmed his political entry by announcing the launch of a whistleblower app.

In December 2017, his contemporary Rajinikanth also announced his political entry with the formation of a yet-to-be-named party. Kamal had wished him well – and said that he would be undertaking a journey to meet people in February.

Arvind Kejriwal to Attend Launch of Haasan's Political Party

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will be attending actor-politician Kamal Haasan’s party launch in Madurai, sources confirmed. Kamal had reportedly called on Kejriwal in September last year, and the latter had urged him to join active politics.

“Kamal Haasan has a reputation of having integrity and courage. When the country is facing strong forces of corruption and communalism, all like-minded people should talk to each other and work in tandem. I was happy when I learnt that there are a large number of honest people in this country who feel strongly against communalism, but only a few people have the courage to stick their neck out. Kamal Haasan is a rare person like that,” Kejriwal had said at the time.

Also Read: Arvind Kejriwal to Attend Kamal Haasan’s Party Unveiling

Kamal Haasan in Madurai to Overlook Party Preparations

Ahead of the launch of his new party, Kamal Haasan arrived in Madurai to a grand welcome from his fans and supporters on 20 February.

Haasan will begin his political journey from his birth place – Kamuthi in Ramanathapuram district. He will then hoist the party flag in Madurai.

“Tomorrow I will launch my political party. But first I will visit Rameshwaram in the morning. In the evening, I will unfurl the party flag and declare the ideas and ideology of my political journey,” Haasan told the media on 20 February.

Stalin Takes a Dig at Haasan

In a letter addressed to DMK party members, the party’s working president MK Stalin on 20 February took a jibe at actors-turned-politicians Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth.

"Attractive flowers bloom when there’s a change in the season and eventually they wither away. Similarly, in the Tamil political arena too, attractive paper flowers may bloom. Paper flowers are not fragrant, are they? But the DMK is like the 1,000-year crop. It is the Dravidian language pride... it is a food for the Tamil people’s rights." - Stalin in his letter

Stalin added, “I give the assurance that everything will be done for the success of the movement!”

His letter comes a day after Kamal Haasan met with both DMK chief Karunanidhi and Stalin at their residence.

Also Read: ‘Paper Flowers Aren’t Fragrant’: Stalin Derides Kamal, Rajini

Kamal's Big Day

Kamal Haasan was given a rousing welcome by his supporters when he arrived in Rameshwaram late on 20 February. Haasan is scheduled to set out on a yatra from this island and launch the political party in Madurai, about 170 km from Rameshwaram.

Spotted in Chennai. 

His supporters raised slogans "Hail Varungala Muthalvere"(future chief minister) Hail Kamal Haasan" as he arrived in his native Ramanathapuram district in southern Tamil Nadu.

Visit to Kalam's School Cancelled

Kamal Haasan's visit to the ‘No 1 Mandapam Panchayat union middle school’, the alma mater of former President APJ Abdul Kalam has been cancelled after he was denied permission to visit the school.

The district unit of the Hindu Munnani had raised objection to the visit.

Kamal Visits APJ Abdul Kalam's House, Meets Family

(Photo Courtesy: Kamal Haasan PR Team)
(Photo Courtesy: Kamal Haasan PR Team)

At APJ Abdul Kalam’s residence, the actor met the former president’s brother Mohammed Muthu Meera Lebbai Maraicker and his nephew APJ Syed Haja Ibrahim.

"Greatness can arrive in the simplest of houses and this is one of them. I am touched." - Kamal Haasan to Times Now

(Photo Courtesy: Diamond Babu)
(Photo Courtesy: Diamond Babu)

Kamal Haasan tweeted saying he was glad to start his journey from the simple abode of a great man. "I saw a standing example of humility & kindness at Abdul Kalam's house & the members of the family. It's a great honour for me to begin my political journey from the same place where Kalam began his journey," he tweeted.

Cricketer Ashwin on Kamal's Political Debut

Cricketer Ashwin Ravichandran tweeted that Tamil Nadu’s political landscape appeared to be “set for a massive change".

Kamal Haasan Addresses Fishermen

After APJ Abdul Kalam’s residence, Kamal headed on to Ganesh Mahal in Rameshwaram, where he interacted with members of the fishing community. Fishermen have the most important occupation in the state, Kamal Haasan told the gathering.

"There is a need to discuss your activities and international treaties again." - Kamal Haasan

Kamal Haasan speaking to fishermen at Rameshwaram.

"Different governments have made different promises and then when people ask why the promises are not met, they bring different problems in front of them," he said.

Stage is set for Kamal Haasan at Ganesh Mahal in Rameshwaram.

Kamal Haasan Urges Fans To Send Maiam Ideas

In a letter addressed to his fans, Kamal Haasan asked supporters to join hands to "create our own dream Tamil Nadu".

“Our first job is to unite people like you who have taken interest and improve the right villages that we have taken up. A member of our team will get in touch with you in the upcoming weeks with detailed plans on this. If you have any suggestions prior to that, please tweet with the hashtag #maiamideas,” his tweet reads.

"A new Tamil Nadu is about to bloom in front of us. If all of us pull the chariot together, tomorrow is ours." - Kamal Haasan in a letter to his fans

Kamal Haasan Addresses Media Before Party Launch

Kamal Haasan speaking with media persons hours before the grand party launch.

Kamal Haasan sticks to his promise and brings leaders of the fishermen association to the dias. "I want to be introduced to all you leaders. I wanted to introduce my press friends to you all," Kamal said.

Speaking about his visit to Abdul Kalam’s house, he said, “There is no politics in visiting Abdul Kalam. I was deeply moved by his life, teachings. Kalam's patriotism and humble beginnings drew me."

"Chandrababu Naidu who spoke to me reflected my thoughts. He wanted me to offer solutions to problems than mere policies," he added.

Kamal Haasan addresses the media ahead of party launch

Posted by The Quint on  Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Kamal Haasan's Statewide Tour to Start in March

Sources in Kamal Haasan’s team have confirmed that the actor will tour Tamil Nadu from March to June. He will set out on the journey to introduce himself as a political player and to listen to the grievances and suggestions of the people.

Senior Advocate Prashant Bhushan Pins Hopes on Haasan

Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan conveyed his best wishes to the actor-turned-politician.

"No doubt he is doing it with intention of improving public life in TN, which desperately needs something far better than what DMK, ADMK, Cong & BJP have to offer. He will need expert advice on policy. He will need expert advice on policy,” Bhusan tweeted.

Haasan Visits Kalam Memorial

Kamal Haasan at Abdul Kalam memorial

Kamal Haasan paid his respects at Former President APJ Abdul Kalam's memorial in Rameshwaram. He will now head to the Pamban Bridge, where he is expected to address a gathering.

AIADMK Minister Slams Haasan

Tamil Nadu Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar commented on Kamal Haasan’s political journey saying, "Kamal is a genetically modified seed. We don't sow this in India”.

He agreed with Opposition party leader MK Stalin’s in likening him and fellow actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth "paper flowers... that will neither blossom nor give fragrance”.

Telangana Minister Wishes Haasan Luck

KT Rama Rao, MLA belonging to the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, expressed happiness for inviting him to be a part of his political foray in Madurai.

BJP Leader Says Haasan's Political Entry is Too Late

Tamilisai Soundararajan, President of TN BJP said that the state’s political landscape is not desperate for Kamal Haasan’s entry.

"Having been a bonsai for so long, they cannot suddenly become a peepal tree. He can be a headline, but not a leader." - Tamilisai Soundararajan, President, TN BJP

Kamal Haasan Appeals to the Public to Accept Him as a Leader

Kamal Haasan, who is in his hometown, Ramanathapuram after about 45 years, said his town had not change much. “The town has changed a little but my people are just the same. Annadurai and I were actors at the TKS theatre troupe. When Annadurai came to stage, there would be ringing of applause. He is such a wonderful actor. I told him I am his fan," he said.

"So far you have all seen me as a cinema star, but let me tell you how I see I think of myself. I am no longer a cinema star. I am the lamp in your house. It is your responsibility to shield me and take care of me. It is your responsibility to light me. " - Kamal Haasan

"When I came here, I was very nervous that something will happen to you in this crowd. When I stand here on stage, I think, can I squander this opportunity? I came to float in this pool of love. We need to swim in many places. Let this flood continue. You have to wish me well. Like I said, you have to take care of this lamp," he added.

Kamal Haasan in His Hometown

Kamal Haasan expressed delight in returning to his hometown.

Kamal Haasan addressed his hometown of Paramakudi, even as crowds thronged in the heat.

He went to a primary school at Paramakudi in Ramanatham district. He said:

"I have come here after 45 years because of your love. I want to seek your blessings and leave before heading to Madurai." - Kamal Haasan

Kejriwal Arrives at Madurai

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has reached Madurai for Kamal Haasan's big party announcement. Madurai district collector Veera Raghava Rao received him at the airport.

The Stage is All Set for Political Debutant Kamal Haasan

Crowds gather to watch Kamal Haasan unveil the party name.

With over 20,000 chairs laid out and a steady queue trickling in, the stage is all set for actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan to make his much-awaited announcement.

Though a few fishermen expressed disappointment that Haasan didn’t spend as much time with them as he promised, many are hoping the actor proves his worth this evening.

Will Haasan’s mantra manage to gather enough supporters to fill the Othakadai ground in Madurai ?

The political debutant will soon unveil the party name, symbol and objectives.

My Party's Name Is ‘Makkal Needhi Maiam’: Kamal Haasan

Kamal Haasan launched his political party on Wednesday, 21 February. The new party is called 'Makkal Needhi Maiam', which means ‘ centre for people’s justice’.

"You must be an example to the present-day political system and I will be seeking your suggestion rather than giving you speeches." - Kamal Haasan

Haasan also unfurled his party flag – a white flag with six red and white arms linked and a star in the middle. The flag had both Dravidian colours – red and black.

Colours black and white has a political significance in Tamil Nadu which forms part of the flags of the two big parties of the state – AIADMK and DMK – and the shades are also seen as a pointer to the Dravidian ideology.

Haasan, who has given himself the moniker ‘Nammavar’ after a 1995 movie, saluted the flag once it was hoisted.

He was joined by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Aam Aadmi Party leader Somnath Bharti and farmer's leader PR Pandian at the launch.

"There is no dearth of money in govt there is only dearth of intentions. Delhi is witnessing a revolution in governmentt schools,hospitals,electricity. People of Tamil Nadu are ready to throw out DMK and AIDMK and bring Kamal to power." - Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi Chief Minister

Kamal Haasan Had Launched His Website Earlier This Month

On 11 February, Haasan had launched his website – maiam.com at a student conference in Harvard University.

Called ‘Maiam’, the website has been designed with the motive to build a new sustainable model village.

Also Read: Saffron Not My Colour: Kamal Haasan Unlikely to Ally With Rajini

Shruti Haasan, CM Pinarayi Vijayan Send Kamal Haasan Good Wishes

Kamal Haasan’s daughter Shruti Haasan congratulated her father and wished him good luck for his political future.

In a video message, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also sent good wishes to Haasan and said, “Kamal Haasan is dear to me and people of Kerala. He started his film career in Kerala and has been a unifying force between TN and Kerala. Kamal Haasan has proven his integrity in social and political reforms”.

Corruption Must be Eradicated: Kamal Haasan

Speaking at the launch in Madurai, Haasan said, “People ask about my ideology, here it is-good quality education must reach all,caste and religious games played on us must be stopped.corruption has to be eradicated.”

Explaining the meaning of his party name, he said:

"People ask me what is this ‘Maiam?’, and if I am left or right? That is why I kept the name ‘Maiam’, which means centre. Six hands in my party symbol represent six states, star in the middle represents people."

'My Party is Against Freebies and Votes for Money'

Trying a method of explaining his party's stand on a couple of issues through question-answer session, he said the party was against freebies.

Freebies were a fixture in the regimes of the previous DMK and current AIADMK.

Rather than giving such freebies, he said by creating employment opportunities, the party would empower people with which they can fulfill their needs and also help others.

Haasan also said that people have been cheated and asserted that he will never offer votes for money but rather spend it for their welfare.

"If you had voted for a good party, you could have got even six lakh rupees a year (indicating such income through employment or benefit in the form of government services) not six thousand rupees. "

"There will be no quarter or scooter," he said.

Subsidy for scooter for women beneficiaries is an initiative of the ruling AIADMK and it is set to formally take off soon.

Kejriwal Asks Tamil Nadu to Vote For Kamal Haasan

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed to the people of Tamil Nadu to vote for the new party of Kamal Haasan and throw out the "corrupt" AIADMK and DMK.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal with actor-politician Kamal Haasan at his party launch.

In his brief address in English, which was translated into Tamil, Kejriwal said:

"If you want corruption, vote for DMK and AIADMK. If you want schools, hospitals, water, and electricity, vote for Kamal Haasan." - Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi CM  

He said people of Delhi started the trend of voting for honest political parties and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) got 67 out of 70 seats.

Now, he said the people of Tamil Nadu have the chance of breaking the record by voting for Kamal Haasan.

Saffron Should Not Spread All Over the Tricolour: Kamal Haasan

A day after he launched his political party, Kamal Haasan said that saffron has its place in the national flag but it should not spread all over it. The remark is being interpreted as an attack on the BJP and Hindutva forces, reported IANS.

"Even the Indian national flag has saffron. But it (the colour) should not spread all over the flag is what I am saying" - Kamal Haasan, President of Makkal Needhi Maiam.

In his latest column in a Tamil weekly magazine ‘Ananda Vikatan’, Kamal said he has not insulted the saffron band on the tricolour, which signifies courage and sacrifice.

On the core political philosophy, Kamal said he does not want to be tied down to the narrow confines of any single 'ism'.

"All ‘isms’ are for social reform. And it cannot be said all have succeeded. It cannot be agreed that a book written in some corner of the world will suit the whole world." - Kamal Haasan

Kamal Haasan Held 'Secret Meeting' With Rajinikanth Before Entering Politics

Kamal Haasan said on Thursday, 22 February, that he held a "secret" meeting with Rajinikanth about his entry into politics and decided to maintain dignity even if they became rivals later, reported PTI.

In his column in the weekly Tamil magazine 'Ananda Vikatan', the actor-turned politicians did not reveal when the meeting took place.

But he disclosed that they spoke on the issue of his political entry during the shoot of 'Bigg Boss', anchored by Haasan.

Rajinikanth was also shooting for his upcoming film ‘Kaala’ in a nearby location, Haasan said, adding that he made the proposal for the meeting.

“Shall we meet secretively I asked... we later sat inside a car and discussed. I spoke about the decisions I had made,” Haasan said in an apparent reference to his political plunge.

He said he proposed the meeting as he wanted his one time co-star to be in the know about his decision to enter politics before the others knew about it.

According to Haasan, Rajnikanth did express surprise at his decision.

Haasan told his 'friend' that he was mentally prepared about the plunge a long time ago, but was implementing it now.

"We decided that there shall be no compromise in dignity for whatever reason. I told him that even if we are in opposing camps, the respect (for each other) should be maintained." - Kamal Haasan on his meeting with Rajnikanth

He added that Rajinikanth endorsed his views.

Meanwhile, in Chennai, Haasan said that he has registered Makkal Neethi Maiam with the Election Commission and proposed to hold a public meeting of the party in Tiruchirappally on 4 April.

Amid fanfare, Kamal Haasan launched his political party – Makkal Needhi Maiam, or Centre for People’s Justice – in Madurai, and unveiled its flag, on Wednesday, 21 February. The actor’s debut comes almost two months after Rajinikanth announced his entry into Tamil Nadu politics.

  • Kamal Haasan’s new party is called ‘Makkal Needhi Maiam’ (Centre for People’s Justice)
  • His party symbol is six red and white linked arms, with a star in the centre
  • He was joined by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Aam Aadmi Party leader Somnath Bharti and farmer’s leader PR Pandian at the launch
  • Since the death of J Jayalalithaa, Haasan has dominated headlines with his criticism of the Tamil Nadu government
  • In an apparent criticism of BJP and Hindutva forces, Kamal Haasan on 22 February said that saffron has its place in the tricolour, but it shouldn’t spread all over it
  • A day after the party’s launch, Haasan also revealed that he held a “secret meeting” with Rajinikanth before entering politics

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