Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan on Friday said that he was “proud of the people of Tamil Nadu” for speaking in one voice through the results of Lok Sabha elections.
Speaking to the media a day after the Bharatiya Janata Party won 303 seats in the Lok Sabha, Mr. Haasan said: “The people of India have given the verdict but I am happy Tamil Nadu didn’t go the same way. Tamil Nadu has been individualistic and clearly stated its stand point. I am proud of my people.”
Dwelling on Makkal Needhi Maiam’s strong show in its first elections where it garnered 3.72% vote share, the party chief said, “People have trusted and voted for us without expecting anything other than our commitment. I see the candidates who received votes in huge numbers as winners of tomorrow.”
He said, “We have done well. The obstacles were poverty and amount of money that was frayed. It was incorrigible and not acceptable at all. Yet, we ploughed on. There are some constituencies where we have 12, 11, 10, 8% - the average is 5% is a great beginning considering the vertical climb we have done in short time. We are committed to engage with the people,” said Mr. Haasan. His party’s performance showed that the people did support honesty in politics.
“At a time when everyone was trying to dismiss us, we received support from people of Tamil Nadu. People have told us that we are going in the right direction and that we can win if we are straight forward. We pleaded with them not to vote by taking money but they have also shown that it is possible,” he said. He added, “We have done what we could in 14 months. We would have done better if we had more time. We didn’t break away from a bigger party. We have created this base,” said Mr. Haasan.
To a question about why they could get more votes in urban rather than rural areas, he said, “The protected ‘poverty’ of people of Tamil Nadu is the reason for it. They keep it [poverty] that way to use them once in five years,” said Mr. Haasan.
He said that the crucial lessons to be learnt from this 2019 Lok Sabha election were that there was a long way to go. “We have learnt that the journey is much longer. Winning over poverty is difficult. We have achieved what we have despite a cyclone of money,” he said. “We are now being seen as an alternative,” he added.
He urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to keep Tamil Nadu in his plans in the same way as he would a State that voted for BJP.
“It is the responsibility of the Prime Minister to consider Tamil Nadu as one of the States in India and make sure it flourishes,” he said.
He hoped that new Bhopal MP Pragya Singh Thakur who called Mahatma Gandhis assassin Nathuram Godse a patriot would do good work in her constituency.