Actor Vijay floats political party Tamilaga Vettri Kazhagam, to contest 2026 Tamil Nadu Assembly polls

Mr. Vijay declared that his party would enter the electoral fray in the 2026 Tamil Nadu Assembly elections. It will stay away from the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, and not extend support to anyone.

February 02, 2024 02:18 pm | Updated February 05, 2024 02:17 pm IST - CHENNAI

Tamil actor Vijay. Photo: Instagram/@actorvijay

Tamil actor Vijay. Photo: Instagram/@actorvijay

Tamil cinema’s leading hero Vijay on February 2 took the political plunge and announced the formation of his political party Tamizhaga Vetri Kazhagam. Positioning himself against the politics of “corruption” and “divisiveness”, Mr. Vijay declared that his party would enter the electoral fray in the 2026 Tamil Nadu Assembly elections. It will stay away from the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, and not extend support to anyone.

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Arguably the biggest and highest paid star in Tamil Nadu at the moment, Mr. Vijay, the founder-president of the party, said while Tamil Nadu has suffered due to maladministration and corruption, the State also has been plagued by the politics of hate and divisiveness.

“It is a fact that everyone is yearning for governance that is selfless, transparent, corruption-free, and without caste or religious bias. What is important is that such politics is in tune with the Tamil culture of equality and political traditions of the State, and within the framework of Indian Constitution,” he said.

The actor had several years ago converted his fans association into Vijay Makkal Iyakkam (VMI), a larger social platform that has now been converted into a political party. Bussy Anand, general secretary, VMI, was in New Delhi to initiate the process of registering the political party with Election Commission of India.

In a three-page statement, Mr. Vijay said the party will start propagating its “Tamil Nadu-centric” ideology and policies, among the people through public events after the Lok Sabha election.

In the intervening period party cadres will be “politicised” and party’s reach in the grassroots will be strengthened and office-bearers will appointed “democratically”.

Mr. Vijay said he doesn’t consider politics as “just another profession” and that it is a “sacred service of people”. “I have learnt not just the heights of politics but its depths from seniors in politics. Politics is not my hobby, it is my quest,” he said.

Will actor Vijay take the political plunge? | Video Credit: Thamodharan B.

While the actor has not kept his fans and public guessing about his political plunge, he has been involved in political skirmishes in the last 15 years with both the DMK and AIADMK, the two dominant parties of Tamil Nadu.

When the DMK was in power during 2006-2011, Mr. Vijay’s film Kaavalan (2011) ran into problems during the release, which was widely attributed to the interference of the members of the ruling party. After the civil war in Sri Lanka, Mr. Vijay had accused the Central and State governments of failing to safeguard Tamil fishermen who were being attacked by Sri Lankan Navy.

After the AIADMK came to power, Mr. Vijay’s another film, Thalaivaa (2013), also ran into trouble mainly due to its tagline ‘Time of Lead’. Its release was delayed forcing him to appeal to then Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and also drop the tagline.

Apart from the DMK and AIADMK, Mr. Vijay has also been critical of the BJP and its policies. In one of his recent films named Mersal, there were dialogues critical of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which had attracted sharp criticism from the BJP leaders in Tamil Nadu, prompting a senior BJP leader, H. Raja, to call him ‘Joseph’ Vijay - identifying him as a Christian.

In the last 15 years, Mr. Vijay had also met a wide variety of political leaders including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Anna Hazare and a few others fuelling speculation of his intention to enter politics.

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