Actor-politician Kamal Haasan undertook a 170-km political tour from Rameswaram to Madurai in February 2018. The reason – he had to announce the name of his party, Makkal Needhi Maiam, which means “People’s Justice Centre”.
The 66-year-old actor took his entry into politics rather slow. He had waited for months after announcing his political ambition and held many consultations before the launch in February 2018, one year before the Lok Sabha election in which his party took part in its first political fight.
Though Mr Haasan’s party did not win any seat in Tamil Nadu in the national election, its performance then in terms of vote share was seen as one that could become a threat to the AIADMK and the DMK in future, which is now.
The Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) got 3.72 per cent votes in the 35 constituencies it contested in the 2019 general election, which was no mean feat for a party that was launched just over a year before the national election.
Mr Haasan had been looking to work with superstar Rajinikanth too. The plan did not work out after Rajinikanth decided not to take the plunge into active politics.
Mr Haasan is contesting the Tamil Nadu election from Coimbatore South constituency. The constituency is represented by AIADMK’s Amman K Arjunanan in the outgoing assembly and the ruling party MLA has shifted to Coimbatore North to accommodate alliance partner BJP’s Vanathi Srinivasan.
Mr Haasan’s party on its website says looking back at his films, there’s an undercurrent of social responsibility, way before he became a politician. “Apart from reflecting his social responsibility, he also ventured into finding viable solutions to the issues that bogged the society,” the MNM says.
Mr Haasan’s political venture was one half of a mega cinema-politics crossover story that gripped Tamil Nadu. The other was superstar Rajinikanth’s entry, which appeared set in December last year, only for the actor to cite a “warning from God” and back out over health concerns.
The Tamil Nadu election – the first since the deaths of former Chief Ministers J Jayalalithaa and M Karunanidhi – will be held in a single phase tomorrow. Votes will be counted May 2.