Lok Sabha elections, Tamil Nadu: Kamal Haasan breaks TV sets; Congress has translation troubleshttps://indianexpress.com/elections/kamal-haasan-makkal-needhi-maim-congress-rahul-gandhi-pattali-makkal-katchi-5674322/

Lok Sabha elections, Tamil Nadu: Kamal Haasan breaks TV sets; Congress has translation troubles

We bring you the sidelights of the elections from Tamil Nadu: Kamal Haasan claims he is one amongst the public and says it’s time for a change.

Kamal Haasan MNM chief
Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan. (File photo)

Kamal Haasan new political promo has him breaking a TV set

Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan has hit headlines in Tamil Nadu by breaking a television set in his political promo. Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maim (MNM), which turned a year-old on February 21, will be making its electoral debut in the Lok Sabha elections.

With just a few days to go for the polling in Tamil Nadu, the founder of MNM tried one of his final gambits to attract the public by releasing a promotional video which shows him throwing a remote control and breaking the television set.

On Twitter, Haasan released a 1 minute 41 seconds video with the title ‘Nam Vizhiyil Eriyum Kovam Nam Viralil Vedikattum, Pudhu Velicham Pirakkatum’ which roughly translates as ‘The anger in our eyes should be converted into votes through our fingers’, he is seen switching the channels which have the voices of DMK leader MK Stalin, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Deputy Chief Minister O Paneerselvam, BJP National Secretary H Raja and finally breaks the television set to vent out the frustration. He then turns to the camera and addresses the audiences.

Also read | Tamil Nadu elections: Of name changes, blame games, and traffic woes

Haasan asks the voters whether they have chosen their candidate for the elections and then places a list of accusations on all his opponents and tells them why they shouldn’t vote for these parties. He attacks the DMK and Congress by labelling them as dynastic parties and informs the voters that the parties have ruled the people of this state for a long time and have not done much. He then moves on to AIADMK and blames them for the firing incident in Thoothukudi. He also accuses the Prime Minister of depriving the farmers of their land and shaming them.

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Haasan claims he is one amongst the public and says it’s time for a change. He urges the voters not to bend down but to keep their heads held high and pick the right candidate.

Translation troubles for Congress

It’s the election season and the leaders from across the country are on campaigning spree. In the Hindi heartland, the national leaders connect with the audiences as they communicate in a language which is understood by the general public. But when they campaign in other parts of India, especially down South, they get into trouble. They utter a few words in the local language to connect with the crowd and they address local issues more than the national issues.

Read | People are ready for a change: Meet DMK’s South Chennai candidate Thamizhachi Thangapandian

On March 13th, Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi was addressing a mammoth rally in Nagercoil in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu. Former Tamil Nadu Congress President, K V Thangkabalu was appointed to translate the speech. Here, Gandhi accused Modi over the Rafale deal, saying Modi awarded the contract to his friend Anil Ambani who had no previous experience in manufacturing aircraft. He also said AIADMK runs an inefficient government and called EPS and OPS as BJP’s puppets.

Gandhi’s attempt to paint the opposition parties in a negative shade didn’t receive a rousing response in the rally as his speech got completely lost in the translation. Thangkabalu, who watched Rahul Gandhi at close proximity perhaps went overboard and started to speak his own version of the Congress leader’s speech. This left internet in splits and Thangkabalu got roasted in memes. The translation was like:

Rahul Gandhi: Anil Ambani has never built an aircraft in his life

Translation: Anil Ambani doesn’t always speak the truth

Rahul Gandhi: And that is why we respect the people of Tamil Nadu

Translation: Narendra Modi is Tamil people’s enemy

After these goof-ups, Congress decided to change Rahul’s translator. On April 12, when Rahul addressed a public rally at Krishnagiri in Tamil Nadu, Professor G Pazhanidurai was appointed as the translator. The Congress party hoped this time they will catch the pulse of the audience gathered at the rally. But they failed to achieve it, courtesy – again an abysmal translation.

Despite being just inches away from the podium, the translator got it all wrong. Rahul Gandhi said, ‘Narendra Modi gave 35,000 to Mehul Choksi’ and the translator dubbed it as ‘Modi gave 31,000 to Nirav Choudhary’. Rahul said, ’40 lakh farmers lost their work’ and Pazhanidurai said that ’30 lakh farmers lost their work’. Yes, he got both the number and the name wrong. When Rahul Gandhi said, ‘My family has so much affection for you’ (Tamil people), the translator made it ‘Likewise, I seek your support for our victory’ and when the Congress leader said ‘Mr Narendra Modi took away the bonus that our farmers used to be given, the translator changed it completely and said ‘This is what Narendra Modi has given a bonus to Tamil Nadu, taking away 6,000 crores.’

Bad habits die hard: PMK hate-love relationship with AIADMK

Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) has found itself in the soup again. The regional party, which vehemently criticized the AIADMK a few months ago, forged an alliance with the same party to face the elections. Anbumani Ramadoss, a former Union Minister, and the party’s Youth Wing Secretary said they joined hands with AIADMK for the welfare of Tamil Nadu and added the decision was taken by their leader Dr. Ramadoss.

AIADMK allocated seven Lok Sabha constituencies and a Rajya Sabha to their ally PMK. Ever since they sealed the pact, the leaders of the party have been campaigning relentlessly for each other’s victory. Though PMK leaders have accepted AIADMK as their partners, it seems their inner conscious still takes time. In a public rally at Tirukalukundram town in Kanchipuram district of Tamil Nadu, the senior Ramadoss was campaigning for AIADMK’s Kanchipuram LS candidate Maragadham Kumaravel and the party’s Thiruporur by-election candidate Arumugam.

While speaking at the rally, the veteran TN politician made a mockery of himself when he asked the public not to vote for ‘AIADMK’ instead of saying ‘DMK’. “Everybody is aware of Stalin’s poor leadership. DMK is functioning as a corporate company; they don’t care for the people of this land. You should teach them a lesson, the candidates of ‘AIADMK’ should lose the deposit,” he said.


He made the mistake again when he spoke about the issues in Tiruporur. “On behalf of fishermen community, close to 30,000 votes are present here. You should work hard and make sure the ‘AIADMK‘ loses its deposit here.” Soon realizing his mistakes, Ramadoss repeated his speech replacing AIADMK with DMK.