Kamal Haasan party launch: As it happened

Kamal Haasan at the launch of his party Makkal Needhi Maiam in Madurai on February 21, 2018. Photo: @maiamofficial  

Actor Kamal Haasan has launched his political party — Makkal Needhi Miam — at a public meeting in Madurai. He also unveiled the party flag.

Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal, former Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti, and farmers’ leader P.R. Pandian attended the launch conference.

 

Here are latest updates:

‘Where were you?’

Concludes his speech. Moves on to an interactive session.  Writer Bharathi Krishnakumar is moderating the session.

A majority have asked this question, the moderator says, “Where were you till now?” For this he says I was in your hearts (ullam) till now. Hereafter, I will be in your homes (illam). I cease to be a star. Please treat me like a lamp in your house.

How long will you last? I have answered this question. Till my last breath.

Who is your leader? Gandhi, Periyar or Kamarajar? I like every one. I like all of them. I like him (points at Mr. Kejriwal). I like Pinarayi Vijayan too. 

He seeks personal sacrifices to end corruption while answering a question.

Will you continue the “quarter for men, and scooter for women” culture? I won't. I will empower you to make you buy scooters for others. 

Exhorts equal status for women in response to a question.

Tamil is dying in Tamil Nadu, what are you going to do? Speak Tamil. Tamil will live. But we need not hate other languages. 

Will your children come to politics? Yes. They will. Here... (points to the crowd).  (Thunderous applause).

Responding to criticism, he says, he will choose to ignore them and keep up with our work. “If you are angry at us, pls come up with good work. We will go home. But you can't. Because due to you only we have come to politics.”

Concludes session.

Ending corruption will eliminate poor service delivery: Kamal

“Good education must reach all, communal and religious instigation must end. We will achieve it and be an example to all. If we end corruption, there will be no dearth or stoppage of amenities or access to services.”

I won't give note for vote, he says. Asks youngsters to upgrade their skills.

He seeks a break with the past, saying this is a new era.

On Cauvery, he says if there's a proper dialogue, any State can get anything from any other State. “We should cultivate their humanity.”

“They are asking us wthetehr we are Left or Right. That's why put a Centre in our flag,” he says.  We will follow in the footsteps of the likes of the Justice Party. (Justice Party was transformed into the Dravidar Kazhagam by Periyar in 1944).

“Those who have little left in terms of age are mocking at my age. But I have come here live long like a 40-year marriage. But I have come here in search of the next generation.”

“The rest of my life is for you. That's why this hurry and I want it succeed in my lifetime,” he says. “This party, registered in the Election Commission, will not the one which ends with me. It will go on for at least three-four generations more.”

Quotes Gandhi. Says one man’s greed will destroy society. Strongly speaks against the vote-for-Rs. 6000 culture. 

Education that is supposed to be run by government is given to the private sector, he says. “But, he adds, liquor sales that is supposed to be run by the private players is run by govt. What are we doing?”

Pledges to respond in any which way to the queries made asked.

He says the six hands indicate six States (including Puducherry, perhaps) of South India and the star is the people, he says explaining the party logo featured in the flag.

If you don't want corruption vote for Kamal Haasan: Kejriwal

"I congratulate Kamal Haasan on giving an alternative to the people of Tamil Nadu. Till now the State was stuck between two corrupt parties. Like the people of Delhi I can see now it is the time for this State to free itself from corruption," says Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Speaking about the Aam Admi Party he says that the party has seen a huge success in Delhi within six months of its formation.

"If you want schools, hospitals, roads and electricity; If you want an honest government, vote for Kamal Haasan," Mr. Kaejriwal says.

Mr. Kejriwal further said if the people of the State wants schools, hospitals, and electricity they should vote for Mr. Haasan. He conveyed his best to the people of the State and to Mr. Haasan before ending the speech.

 

High-level panel

The party’s office-bearers are being introduced. Thangavelu, introduced as a national-level office-bearer, says Kamal Haasan Fans Clubs had been an apolitical organisation for 37 years.

A 15-member high-level panel has been announced. Retired IPS officer, A.G. Mourya, actor Sripriya, Tamil professor and actor A.S. Gnanasambandan, Kameela Nazar (actor Nazar’s wife) and writer Su Ka are among them.

Arvind Kejriwal in dais with Kamal

Kamal Haasan gives way for “introduction” of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and farmer leader P.R. Pandian. 

Actor Kamal Haasan at the launch of his political party — Makkal Needhi Miam, in Madurai on February 21, 2018. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, former Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti and farmer leader P.R. Pandian are also seen in the dais. Photo: S. Sundar

Actor Kamal Haasan at the launch of his political party — Makkal Needhi Miam, in Madurai on February 21, 2018. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, former Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti and farmer leader P.R. Pandian are also seen in the dais. Photo: S. Sundar  

Video clipping of Kerala Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan's feliticitation played at the venue. Vijayan says Kamal Haasan is dear to him and people of Kerala. Kamal Haasan started his fillm career in Malayam industry, he says. “Kamal has been a unifying factor for Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Tamil Nadu has witnessed several social and political reforms that has impacted Kerala too. He hoped that Kamal Haasan's entry into political arena would enrich Tamil Nadu. He exuded confidence that the new party upholds secularism  democracy and pluralistic society where all voices are heard.”

 

Makkal Needhi Maiyyam

Kamal Haasan unfurls his party’s flag featuring six united hands — three each in white and red — with a white star in the middle, at Madurai.  Kamal Haasan’s announces party name — Makkal Neethi Maiam (Centre for People’s Justice). He says he is just a tool, not a leader and it is a party of leaders.  For some reason it’s spelt “Maiam” than the phonetically equivalent “Maiyyam”. Maiyam Whistle  was the whistleblower mobile app he launched in November 2017. 

The logo and name of Kamal Haasan’s party Makkal Needhi Maiam.

The logo and name of Kamal Haasan’s party Makkal Needhi Maiam.  

 

He used run a magazine by that name for some time, and discontinued it. The magazine was revived in tabloid form in 2010 carrying interviews with literary personalities. In 2011, the magazine fully transformed into a webzene.

www.maiam.com now calls for volunteers with slogans like “Let us unite to build a progressive Thamizh Nadu,” interestingly spelling “Thamizh” with “zh” instead of “Tamil” used commonly.

Screenshot from website of Kamal Haasan’s party Makkal Needhi Maiam.

Screenshot from website of Kamal Haasan’s party Makkal Needhi Maiam.  

 

 

Actor Kamal Haasan’s supporters from all over Tamil Nadu have started thronging the venue of his public meeting at Othakadai in Madurai, where he is set to unveil his party’s name, flag and manifesto.

A section of the crowd at the venue of actor Kamal Haasan’s public meeting in Madurai, where he is set to unveil his party’s name on February 21, 2018.

A section of the crowd at the venue of actor Kamal Haasan’s public meeting in Madurai, where he is set to unveil his party’s name on February 21, 2018.   | Photo Credit: S. James

 

 

Public meetings at Paramakudi

Paramakudi gave a rousing welcome in the form of song, dance, whistles and cheers. Roads were plastered with posters hailing the actor as a messiah. Though the population hailed him a real life hero, some others were miffed.

Kamal Haasan interacting with the public at Ramanathapuram.

Kamal Haasan interacting with the public at Ramanathapuram.   | Photo Credit: L. Balachandar

 

Mr. Haasan visited Manamadurai before proceeding to Madurai where he will announce his party’s name, ideology and unveil its flag.

Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan speaks at a public meeting in his hometown Paramakudi on Wednesday.

Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan speaks at a public meeting in his hometown Paramakudi on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: R. Ashok

 

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Kamal meets fisherfolk

Our correspondents D.J. Walter Scott and Sanjana Ganesh report:

As part of his roadshow, Mr. Haasan addressed fisherfolk at Gandhi Mahal in Rameswaram.

Kamal Haasan addresses fisherfolk at Gandhi Mahal in Rameswaram.

Kamal Haasan addresses fisherfolk at Gandhi Mahal in Rameswaram.   | Photo Credit: L. Balachandar

 

He assured that he would meet them often to get to know their problems and find solutions. "There are many issues including the need to respect international maritime boundary line," he said. He would visit them again for an elaborate interaction

Fans who waited outside Gandhi Mahal ahead of the address, said they believe that Mr. Haasan will bring positive resolutions to the table. "We should be allowed to vent our grievances," they said.

A section of fisherfolk, however, said that they were disappointed about not being able to interact with Mr. Haasan.

K. Sivaperuman, a member of the local fishing community and part of the Meenavar Colony said, “He (Kamal) did not pay any heed to us. We are disappointed that he didn't ask us about the lack of basic necessities in Rameswaram’s fishing community,” he said.

Fisherwomen, who said they waited for over two hours to catch a glimpse of the actor-turned-politician said that they felt cheated off an interaction with him. “Kamal said that he would take an interest in our lives and help in poverty alleviation. He didn't even look in our direction,” they said.

 

'No politics in visiting Kalam’s house'

Rameswaram (T.N.) Mr. Haasan said there was “no politics” involved in his visit to the late APJ Abdul Kalam’s residence in Rameswaram, or his proposed one to a school, which did not fructify as the administration denied him the permission, where the former President had studied.

Mr. Haasan visited the House of Kalam and sought blessings of the former President’s elder brother, Mohammed Meeran Lebbai Maraikayer, before the actor launches his political party later on Wednesday.

However, he could not visit the school where Kalam studied as the district administration denied him permission saying the event was “political” in nature.

Mr. Haasan seemed unperturbed by the denial of the permission to visit the school, saying “nobody can stop me from learning.” He hailed Kalam for his patriotism and other qualities,

“Kalam is an important person for me… I was attracted by his patriotism and aspirations.. There is no politics in the visit to his house,” he told a press conference here.

“There was no politics in the school visit also. They can stop me from going to school but not from learning.”

Referring to the lyrics of a song from one of his films, Mr. Haasan said he was prepared to learn if he had to do so “by breaking barriers”.

Asked what difference he saw between his avatars as an actor and that as a politician, he said the former has a bit of “barter system” in it.

“Cinema is a medium to connect with people and so is politics. But there is more responsibility as a politician. It was like barter system-there [in cinema] — their [people’s] money for my talent. But there is no such thing here [in politics],” he said.

On being hailed by his fans and supporters as ‘Nammavar’ [our man] ahead of his political plunge, Mr. Haasan said it amounts to people “owning me up as their man.”

He said Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu spoke to him on Tuesday night and advised him to prepare a list of public welfare initiatives rather than spelling out policies.

The veteran actor said he had lived in the hearts of fans but now wanted to live in people’s homes in his new role.

To a question on why he did not take part in Kalam’s funeral, Mr. Haasan said it was because of his “faith”. PTI

 

Kamal at Kalam House

Our correspondent D.J. Walter Scott from Rameswaram reports:

Hours before launching his political party, Mr. Haasan visited the residence of former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in Rameswaram, and interacted with his family members.

 

Mr. Haasan arrived at Kalam House at around 7:35 a.m. and interacted with A.P.J. M Maraikayar, elder brother of Mr. Kalam and other family members for about 40 minutes before setting out for the road show.

After interacting with the fisher folk, Mr. Haasan would pay homage to the former President at his memorial at Pei Karumbu before driving down to Ramanathapuram to address his maiden public meeting.

He is all set to take the political plunge later in the day, as he will unveil his party name and flag at a public meeting in Madurai.

 

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 5:59:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/live-updates-kamal-haasan-launches-party-calls-it-makkal-needhi-maiam/article22812983.ece

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