Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan on Wednesday formally began his political journey from former President late A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s residence here and said he is no more a movie star but a lamp in the homes of people. “Like the lamp in your homes you should protect me,” Kamal told a gathering here on his way to Madurai. Scheduled to unveil his party’s name and flag at a public rally later in the day in Madurai, Kamal met the former President’s elder brother and other family members at his residence in Rameswaram.
“Greatness can come from simple beginnings,” he said. “Actually, it will come only from simplicity. Glad to start my journey from a great man’s simple abode,” the actor added in a tweet. However, his second halt at the government school in Mandapam where Kalam studied got cancelled as the district administration did not give permission. A leader of a Hindu outfit said they had opposed Kamal’s visit to the school as he was trying to gain political mileage and nothing more.
Later speaking to the fishing community in Rameswaram, Kamal said that it is one of the most important industries in Tamil Nadu. He would be back to listen to the suggestions made by the fisherfolk. Several flags in white with the Tamil Nadu map in black, sporting the tag line Naalai Namadhe meaning Tomorrow is Ours were seen flying in Rameswaram.
Bharatiya Janata Party’s Tamil Nadu unit leader Tamilisai Soundararajan told reporters that Kamal appeared to have started a political party to compete against someone, an apparent reference to superstar Rajinikanth who has also announced plans to launch his political entry.
She said while anyone can float a political party, Tamil Nadu is not in a situation where only Kamal can save it. She said after exhausting in the film field for 50 years, these actors have suddenly turned to politics which people of Tamil Nadu will not accept. Soundararajan also said these actors-turned-politicians are bonsais. On the other hand, Dalit party leader Thol. Thirumavalan told reporters that Kamal and Rajinikanth are agents of the BJP to affect DMK in Tamil Nadu.
Kamal arrived here to a rousing welcome on the eve of the launch of his political party on Wednesday even as DMK Working President M.K. Stalin appeared to take a dig at film personalities taking a plunge into politics saying paper flowers which do not have fragrance will bloom during a season but they will wither very soon.
Reacting to that Kamal said he is not a paper flower but a seed. “Plant me and I will grow,” Kamal said. AIADMK leader and Minister D. Jayakumar said he agreed with Stalin that these are paper flowers and a modified genetic seed that will not grow. “The party flag will be hoisted in the evening in Madurai when the idea behind the flag will be detailed,” Kamal Haasan told reporters on arrival in Madurai.
Earlier in the day on Tuesday, actor Seeman, who strongly opposes Rajinikanth on the basis of his non-Tamil origin, met Kamal at his home in Chennai. He told reporters that Kamal had expressed a wish to meet him but he felt that he should come to his residence because he was elder to him. Seeman also recalled that he also hailed from Ramanathapuram district. Kamal called on DMK president M. Karunanidhi at his Gopalapuram residence to seek his blessings. Stalin was also present then.