Actor-politician Kamal Haasan, who launched his political party ‘Makkal Needhi Maiam” yesterday, took a dig at the BJP today, writing that though saffron is one of the three colours of the Indian flag, “it shouldn’t spread to the entire flag”.
While saffron in the Indian flag stands for sacrifice, it has been largely identified with the right-wing ideology. In his hugely popular column in Tamil magazine Ananda Vikatan, Mr Hassan wrote it would be wrong to say he “dishonours” saffron as the flag gives “space for that sacrifice”. Underscoring the point, the 63-year-old, whose party flag gave broad hints of the Dravidian ideology he subscribes to, said it was essential to “give space and respect others too.”
In the run-up to yesterday’s party launch in Tamil Nadu’s political capital Madurai, Mr Haasan has made it clear that he does not subscribe to the right-wing ideology. Talking about the prospects of an alliance with friend Rajinikanth, who has also announced his intentions to join politics, Mr Haasan said it would be “unlikely if his colour is saffron”.
Asked if his party would subscribe to left or right-wing politics, Mr Haasan yesterday said “I’m centre”.
Today, he made his distaste clear, saying, “Some videos show people taking a vow to remove the word secular in constitution… Can we make such a sacrifice to harvest votes?” The reference was to Union minister Anant Kumar Hedge, who landed in a controversy in December after saying his party, the BJP, will soon change the Constitution,” which mentions the word “secular”. The party had quickly distanced itself from his comments, saying it was “not an issue” for it.
Mr Haasan, who said his party was born out of “people’s anger” has also been at loggerheads with the ruling AIADMK, which over the last few months, is seen as drawing closer to the BJP with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s frequent visits to the state. The BJP has been trying to gain a foothold in the state, which is dominated by the two Dravidian parties – the AIADMK and the opposition DMK. On one of his visits, PM Modi had also met DMK’s ailing leader M Karunanidhi.
The party – which has already made inroads in Kerala and is going all-out to win the coming assembly elections in Karnataka – had also given an open invitation to Rajinikanth when he was contemplating a career in politics.
“I want to change the politics without ethics (that doesn’t care about bloodshed and loss of life),” Mr Haasan wrote. The superstar has made it clear that his party is rooted in the Dravidian ideology, which has people at its heart. The name of the party — “Makkal Needhi Maiam”, which roughly means People’s Justice Centre, also reinforces the idea.