Free Press Journal

Can Kamal Haasan’s ‘Makkal Needhi Maiam’ revolutionise Tamil Nadu and Indian politics?


PTI Photo

Oh, India is always in a churning mode and now we have got yet another political party. This time around it is none other than Tamil cine star and icon Kamal Haasan’s very own ‘Makkal Needhi Maiam’ (People’s Centre for Justice), which was launched on February 21 (Wednesday) amid much fanfare. His entry into Tamil and southern politics has set the cat amongst the pigeons. India is a country which is very diverse and plural and even after 70 years of independence it is still evolving and there is space for everyone to practice their brand and ideology of politics.

What does Haasan’s entry mean for the people of Tamil Nadu? Tamil Nadu is a state which has over the years been one of the best performing states in various parameters and has always contributed to India’s growth. But, of late it has been getting step-motherly treatment from the central government and after the untimely demise of J Jayalalithaa, the state has been in a political vacuum and is clearly crying out for a leadership change. Even politically Tamil Nadu is a significant state, with it having 234 assembly seats and sending 39 members to the Lok Sabha {comes after Uttar Pradesh (80), Maharashtra (48), West Bengal (42), Bihar (40)} and has always played a kingmaker’s role in deciding central governments. Tamil Nadu has also been steeped in the Dravidian brand of politics which is anti-Hindi and anti-North India and has always fought against the imposition of Hindi in any form.

Kamal Haasan might not be as popular as his peer Rajinikanth but has always created a niche for himself in Kollywood and life in general. Haasan comes across as an idealist, intelligent, rational and one who is not afraid of challenging the status quo and, in his film career, he has often taken risks in doing unconventional films rather than doing tried and tested massy films. The road ahead for this liberal actor turned politician will not be easy as running a political outfit is a 24*7, 365 days job and there is no script to fall back on.

Tamil Nadu politics over the last 18 months has reached a nadir with rampant amount of corruption, crony capitalism and a lack of apathy towards governance and political parties bribing voters with cash, alcohol in broad daylight to win elections (recent win of TTV Dhinakaran in RK Nagar). Haasan has so far maintained that he is not after any chair but wants to serve people unconditionally and he is in this for the long haul. Another huge advantage that Haasan has over his opponents is that there is no eye-catching or charismatic leader currently in the state (with the possible exception of DMK’s MK Stalin) and the state is witnessing dearth of any credible or genuine politician, who can make things happen or take Tamil Nadu forward.

Also read: Kamal Haasan party launch updates: Actor meets APJ Abdul Kalam’s family, interacts with fishermen

Is Haasan living in a La La land or he is realistic about his electoral prospects? It will be mighty difficult for Haasan to take on two established parties in AIADMK and DMK, who have ruled the state for the better part of last 50 years and without any resources or cadre at grassroots, the challenge is very difficult in front of Haasan. Another factor would be the arrival of Rajinikanth and also the ever growing BJP, the elections would not be cakewalk and Haasan might struggle to open his account. India and Tamil Nadu are sick and tired of rhetoric and want change at the ground level and Haasan has come as a breath of fresh air to take on the establishment and change the rules of the game.

Nothing is certain in life and even if Haasan tastes defeat early on in his political innings, he has to fight his battle single-handedly and unlike his films, there won’t be happy ending every time. Knowing Haasan, he has already thought about all this and like a perfectionist, he is charting his roadmap to reach out to masses and all lies with people whether they want Haasan to be their leader or not. And, if ‘Makkal Needhi Maiam’ has to stand out, then it has to become a political movement and tell people that elections are much more than freebies and false promises. It’s about ideals, morals, and integrity.