The death of J Jayalalithaa encouraged the two matinee idols of Tamil cinema, Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, to give vent to their political ambitions. On Wednesday, Haasan finally floated his party, Makkal Needhi Maiam (Peoples’ Justice Centre). Rajinikanth is still waiting. Both actors seem to believe that in the post-Jayalalithaa period there is a vacuum in Tamil Nadu politics, with the ruling AIADMK certain to suffer from the lack of a popular leader.
With the DMK patriarch, M Karunandihi, suffering from various age-related ailments, speculation that his younger son and chosen heir, Stalin, may not be able to retain the voters’ trust, Haasan has taken a calculated risk. Harping on corruption alone cannot sustain any political party, as the people in Delhi learn daily at their own cost with Kejriwal’s government indulging in cheap gimmicks and confrontation with all and sundry. It was fitting that Kejriwal was the only other leader present at the launch of the party in Madurai. If the AAP track record is anything to go by, and if it is sought to be replicated by Haasan’s newly-floated venture, there can be little hope for the Tamil voters. In that case, they will get little relief by way of better governance and less corruption. Meanwhile, we await Rajinikanth to finally take the plunge after years of yes-no to a political role.