Actor-politician Kamal Haasan has said that though he could back either the BJP or the Congress after the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, his support would be conditional. "That party which will show concern or at least lend an ear to the problems of Tamil Nadu. It doesn't matter for us...we are not going to be selling ourselves when the time comes forward. We are not going to do that," he told NDTV's Prannoy Roy in an interview a week before the state votes.
Asked who he would prefer between the two national parties, the 64-year-old who launched his own outfit Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) last year, said, "Both are not acceptable for us but what can we do? We would like to become the third option but we are just a regional party and we are aware of that."
Mr Haasan, who had earlier made headlines with his remark "saffron is not my colour", added that even if he supported the BJP, it will not be on terms that the party has with other allies like the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). "That is the only way. I am supporting Tamil Nadu... it (supporting BJP) won't be on the same terms as how BJP is handling the state now. We will ask embarrassing questions," he said.
Kamal Haasan's MNM is contesting this year's Lok Sabha elections but the critically-acclaimed superstar is not running. His party has not tied up with Dravidian parties - the ruling AIADMK and the opposition DMK - that Mr Haasan had vehemently criticised. A pre-poll alliance with the BJP was also ruled out early on by the party chief, who attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a rally last month, calling him a "rich man's security guard".
Mr Haasan explained his motivation for joining politics in detail. "One of the reasons why I came in, I have sort of forecast my apprehensions through a film called Hey Ram. I anticipated this would happen and at the time, it looked like hyperbole or imagination of a movie-maker that things wouldn't get that bad. That is what they said in Germany and they ended up in Jewish camps and I fear that," he said.
"My trajectory, my aim, my sole purpose of entering is - I start with my doorstep instead of taking out a larger piece - not that its more than I could chew but that is not my appetite. Now, it is this. This is where the anger, my angst and need to come into politics started, and that's what I'll have to concentrate on. Even here, I don't call it an election to choose the PM, but an election to confirm our status in the larger picture," Mr Haasan added.
With the two tallest leaders in Tamil Nadu politics, J Jayalalithaa and M Karunanidhi, no more, many say there is space for fresh political thought and leadership in the state. It's a four-cornered contest. Kamal Haasan must be hoping these crowds would translate into votes and empower him to scale new heights in politics, just like his acclaimed film career.