CHENNAI: Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan announced his website, www.maiam.com, an initiative that he said was intended to build model villages in all districts in the State. Speaking at Harvard University’s India Conference in Boston early on Sunday, he said an alliance with fellow actor Rajinikanth was unlikely.With the launch of his political party less than two weeks away, Kamal lashed out at the “mediocrity” that the “global village” of Tamil Nadu had been subjected to. Quoting his “mentor” Mahatma Gandhi on the importance of sustaining villages to save the country, Kamal reaffirmed his plans to adopt one village in each district in the State. This is one of the integral parts of his manifesto that will be released on February 21.
Kamal alleged that the three major problems weighing the State down were apathy of the political class to financial health of the State, inability of the State to manage its (natural) resources and the gradual lowering of the bar in all spheres such as education and healthcare.Since his entry into active politics, this is the first time that Kamal has gone into the State’s financial health and pointed out the Rs 100-billion revenue deficit and the Rs 408-crore fiscal deficit. While he has prioritised environmental conservation since his plunge into politics, Kamal has also laid stress on water self-sufficiency, which he believes could have been possible in the State by now.
Kamal also expressed his aversion to mediocrity and blamed the politicians and business class for thrusting it down the throats of the common man. “Rubbish becomes acceptable if mediocrity is the standard,” he said.However, Kamal did not absolve the common man of the blame. In an interview with journalist Barkha Dutt that followed his address, he even went on to say that people deserved the politicians they have elected. He enunciated how the common man lost the right to question their elected representatives the moment they accepted pre-poll bribes.“They take Rs 15,000, unaware of the Rs 15 lakh they can earn or benefit from if they had not accepted the money,” he said.
There has been much talk about the possibility of Kamal joining hands with Rajinikanth. However, Kamal dismissed such rumours while interacting with Barkha Dutt after his speech.Kamal expressed concerns over their differences in the way good must be done to the people and over Rajini’s initial statement on entering politics giving him a hue. “I hope his hue is not saffron,” Kamal said, hinting that he would wait till Rajinikanth announced his manifesto to take a call on a possible alliance.
During this interaction with the student community at Harvard, he called for stopping intrusion into free choice in the country pertaining to food, intercaste marriage and sexual orientation.Kamal will begin his political journey at the residence of former President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam in Rameswaram on February 21, before unveiling the party flag and name at the first public meeting in Madurai on the same day.