Just over a fortnight after Rajinikanth announced that he will launch a political party and contest the next Assembly elections, Tamil Nadu politics got another enthusiast lining up on Wednesday, with fellow actor, superstar and contemporary Kamal Haasan stating that he will announce the name of his political party, and and its “guiding principles”, during a statewide tour starting February 21.
Haasan, 63, said the first stop of his tour, on February 21, will be his hometown, Ramanathapuram, and he will subsequently visit Madurai, Dindigul and Sivagangai in the first phase.
Amid reports that Rajinikanth and Haasan will strike an alliance in the state, the actors shared the stage at a film event in Chennai on Wednesday and congratulated each other. Asked whether they will have an alliance, Rajinikanth avoided a direct reply: “Only time will tell.” There were speculations that Rajinikanth’s proposed party will be close to the BJP, when he made the announcement on December 31.
In a statement issued on Tuesday midnight, Haasan said, “At the commencement of the journey, I intend to announce the name of my political party along with the guiding principles we intend to live by.” Through the journey, the actor said, he intends to “embark on a journey across the state from February 21, 2018, to truly understand as to what the needs of my people are, what is affecting them, what their aspirations are…. This momentous journey of meeting people across Tamil Nadu is neither an act of rebellion nor is it a gathering for glamour.”
Indicating that he is ready to take on the established political forces in the state, Haasan said in the statement, “… Let’s question mediocrity and raise the bar on governance and welfare of the people of Tamil Nadu….” Reports from the two actors’ camp indicate that launching a party, statewide tours and mobilising people are going to be a difficult task for Haasan, unlike Rajinikanth, whose resources and monetary strength are seen as relatively better. Rajinikanth also has options to mobilise resources and funds from corporate and political “friends”, according to people close to the actor.
A person in the Haasan camp said the actor will take a final call about his future in politics only after assessing public response to the first phase of his statewide tour. “His visit to these four districts, mostly a meeting organised at each district headquarters or main town, will decide the fate of his future steps — even whether he will launch a party. The core team is aware of the possibility of a failure in this first phase itself, but we are still trying with our limited resources,” the insider said.