- Superstar-turned-politician Kamal Haasan reaches out to young voters
- Kamal Haasan addressed around 8000 students at near Chennai
- Kamal Haasan plans to launch his party on February 21, in Rameswaram
Actor Kamal Haasan asked youngsters to be aware of what's happening around them and become the leaders the country needs at the moment. He was addressing students, about 8,000, at an event organised by the Maatram Foundation near Chennai on Saturday.
Mr Haasan criticised the state government for what he implied its "misplaced priority". He also targeted the government for selling liquor through Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) shops and suggested that it should focus on health and education instead. "That's not their job. It's enough if the government supervises liquor trade. No need to get waist or neck deep in liquor. They must take a similar plunge in health and education."
Mr Haasan plans to launch his party on February 21 in Rameswaram, the home of former President APJ Abdul Kalam. He will also kick-start his statewide political tour, "Nalai Namadhe" (Tomorrow is Ours) from there. He calls this tour a "journey of discovery" during which he will attempt to "understand people's needs and aspirations".
The 63-year-old actor took the political plunge after accusing the E Palaniswami government of corruption and bad governance. In his latest column in the popular Tamil weekly magazine Ananda Vikatan, he announced that his team will adopt a village in Tamil Nadu to demonstrate their model of development by implementing what governments have failed. He also had shared his plans to invite Harvard talent to the villages in the state.
Similarly, Rajinikanth has also urged his supporters to create an impact at the grassroot level. He sent a video message to fans and supporters yesterday requesting them to join his forum Rajini Makkal Mandram. Calling it a God-given opportunity, he said, "This is public service and not a selfish thing. Our aim should just be to do good for people. We should bring about a political change in Tamil Nadu in such a way other states should look at us."
Last year, Mr Rajinikanth announced his plans to launch a political party which would contest in all 234 assembly constituencies in the next assembly polls. His team has started recruitment for his forum. On Friday, his team claimed that around 11,000 people enrolled in Vellore district. Forty per cent of them, insiders say, were members of other parties.
The actors have stepped into the political void left in Tamil Nadu after the death of former Chief Minister and AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa. While both of them are vying to capture this space, they have also kept hopes alive about joining hands.
"Only time will be able to tell that. Let us see in due course of time," Rajinikanth said last week.
Mr Haasan agreed "time is a good medicine for everything" in response to his contemporary's open-ended remark.