Days Before Polls, Kamal Haasan Meets Mamata Banerjee In Kolkata

Kamal Haasan did not elaborate on the agenda of the meeting, but confirmed it was political

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Days Before Polls, Kamal Haasan Meets Mamata Banerjee In Kolkata

Kamal Haasan's party Makkal Needhi Maiam is contesting polls from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry


Kolkata: 

A day after announcing his election manifesto, actor-politician Kamal Haasan took a flight to Kolkata today for a meeting with Mamata Banerjee. The two met this afternoon at Ms Banerjee's office at the state secretariat. While Mr Haasan did not elaborate on the agenda, before leaving Chennai, he did confirm that the meeting was "political".

Later, Ms Banerjee announced the two parties have formed an alliance for Andaman and nicobar islands. Supported by Kamla Hassan's party, Ms Banerjee's Trinamool Congress will contest the lone seat in the Union territory.  

"I am a small regional party. So I am thinking about my region and Bengal because I love Bengal. We will take things forward step by step," Mr Haasan was quoted as saying by news agency IANS.

This was Ms Banerjee's first tie-up with a party based in south India. Last year, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao, who came to meet her seeking support for his non-Congress, non-BJP Federal Front, had to return empty-handed.

Mr Haasan's fledgling party Makkal Needhi Maiam or MNM, formed last year, is contesting the Lok Sabha elections from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. But he has not said much on whether he is looking for an ally in this contest.

In the state, he has vehemently criticised both the ruling AIADMK and the opposition DMK. Yesterday, he proved himself an equally sharp critic of the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, calling him a "rich man's guard" who stops "poor people from entering".

"PM Modi doesn't meet journalists... his achievement is bringing the Tamil youth to Twitter for #gobackmodi," Mr Haasan said.

There was speculation that Mr Haasan could also ally with the Congress, after the state Congress chief had hinted at it. But the 68-year-old has not commented on the matter and his meeting with the veteran politician is seen as more of an exercise in optics.

Ms Banerjee, another arch-critic of the BJP and the Prime Minister, is one of the key interlocuters of the opposition that's taking on the BJP is the national poll that is barely a fortnight away.

Her relation with the Congress, of late, has been troubled. Despite much urging from key opposition leaders like Sharad Pawar and Chandrababu Naidu, the Congress and her Trinamool Congress have been unable to tie up in the state.

The Congress initially attempted a tie-up with the Left, bitter rivals of Ms Banerjee, which ruled out an alliance with her. Days after it fell flat, Mr Gandhi, during a visit to Kolkata, had attacked Ms Banerjee and PM Modi in the same breath.

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