In an event which was reminiscent of the Aam Aadmi Party all the way back in 2012, veteran actor Kamal Hasan launched his political party, Makkal Needhi Maiam, flavored with his unique brand of politics.

Amidst cheering crowds, Haasan talked about his party ideology, which is summed up quite nicely in the party’s name i.e. Makkal Needhi Maiam or People’s Justice Centre.

He talked about how his party was one of the people, “We have a responsibility. This isn’t a one day show” he said.  

Further reinforcing his people and south Indian centric ideology was his party symbol.

It showed six hands holding each other in a circular fashion. They represent the 6 south Indian states. It also has a star in the center which according to Haasan, is the people, as they are the star of the movement.

He also gave supreme importance to his party’s centrist behavior, saying,

“People asked me if I’m left or right — as an answer, we have center in our name. We are open to anything that will benefit the people”

His brand is that of alternative politics, seasoned with hints of anti-incumbency and populism which is hugely people-centric. This is quite different from other parties like the BJP, which have a certain ideological perspective and then fold people into that narrative.

The MKM fills in the void that has been created by the DMK and the AIADMK in the south, which the BJP is capitalizing upon. These big parties’ antipathy to the masses is what is driving the people towards alternative parties and Haasan’s party is in the perfect position to take advantage of that.

The last major player who brought alternative politics and people centrism into the political theater was Arvind Kejriwal, who incidentally was also present at the launch event. This entire venture feels like a rehashing of the AAP, except this time centered on South India.

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This may be the reason why Kejriwal was present at the event, to send the message that they would also follow the anti-incumbency, radical, populistic model that AAP followed. They might also try and go the AAP way of inciting the idea of a people’s revolution in politics in society.

But that is problematic because then they also endorse the problems that were inherent with AAP which has led to its many tussles with the center and image degradation in the minds of people. Haasan runs the risk of building a party which decides that lashing out and complaining about the system is a better option than working coherently to fix the problems that exist.

Be that as it may, Haasan’s message of a centrist, people first party is a refreshing one, especially in such a politically charged atmosphere where the dividing lines between rightist and leftist ideologies are solidifying at an alarming rate.

However, he is not the only massively popular actor turned politician in the south, and thus faces a stiff competition ahead, especially given the fact that his brand of politics is diametrically opposite to Rajnikanth’s.

We cannot verify the claims that he is making as of now. It is inevitable that he will not be able to fulfill all of them, even though he promises to, as is the case with every politician. But it is my sincere hope that his brand of alternative politics helps calm down the charged and turbulent political atmosphere.

Sources: Indian Express, The Hindu, Livemint

Image Credits: Google Images

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