5 reasons Kamal Haasan as politician may work for Tamil Nadu

He is not without weakness though.

 |  3-minute read |   22-02-2018
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When Rajinikanth said his political style or line will be spiritual, the actor made it abundantly clear that he will not follow the Dravidian ideology and instead target the empty theist leader slot in Tamil Nadu politics, which opened up upon Jayalalilthaa’s demise.

Kamal, unlike Rajini who is a theist, has been a lifelong atheist and atheism forms the core of the Dravidian ideology. However, during the launch of his party, he chose to follow in the footsteps of Kejriwal, who had no defined ideology. Many believe standing up against corruption or being secular is an ideology, when in fact that should be a given for a politician — and it rarely gets fulfilled. Chandrababu Naidu, Kamal said, had advised him to concentrate on what people want and leave ideologies aside. Kamal seems to have taken the advice to heart.

kr_022218081126.jpgRajini’s entry will also affect Kamal’s chances considering the latter will harvest a section of votes with his theist appeal. Photo: PTI

Is having a defined ideology so important? In the state of Tamil Nadu at least, yes. It tells people who they are backing. Even BJP has stuck to its guns and retained Hindutva as an ideology despite the fact that the word has a negative connotation in the state. Problems come, go, mutate, evolve. Ideology, at least in theory, stands timeless, betraying the end goal of your party’s existence. Ideologically, like Stalin said, Kamal is a paper flower. With Kamal offering pretty much nothing so far in terms of an ideology, will he succeed even at a minor level?

The answer is yes for five reasons:

1. Kamal comes in with a fresh mindset and approach to problem solving at a time when people are tired of five decades of Dravidian parties’ rule.

2. His image is of leader who would put his money, heart and soul where his mouth is, who is willing to take risk for the greater good. This will help him get people on his side.

3. Kamal already has the connect with the masses that politicians require. People either like him or hate him but surely do not and cannot ignore him.

4. Kamal is a master salesman as is evident from his film career. He knows the audience of the state and the art of packaging his works as offbeat and fresh attempts even in cases where they aren’t. This should be evident from the fact that he is attaching himself with Abdul Kalam, Gandhi, Ambedkar and Kejriwal’s anti-corruption plank leaving the usual Dravidian idols.

5. His ability to learn, adapt and use technology to fulfil his purpose will aid him greatly. While Stalin is still talking about dharnas, strikes, filling up prisons and black flags, Kamal is fully capable of taking the political discourse to the next level, much like Modi did in 2014.

He is not without weakness though. While it shouldn’t matter, his personal life does leave a section of women feeling disenchanted — this is a roadblock he needs to overcome. His other weakness is the caste he was born into. Kamal has never identified himself as a Brahmin, but he would still be seen as one by his detractors. He would also not get the support of Brahmins in the state for he has shunned the caste identity — a lose-lose situation. Rajini’s entry will also affect Kamal’s chances considering the latter will harvest a section of votes with his theist appeal.

All said and done, Kamal Haasan’s political entry will forever change the landscape of the politics in Tamil Nadu though not ideologically. Combined with Rajinikanth’s entry, this would change the country’s political scenario on account of the dozens of MPs from the state in the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. All one can hope is it would be a change for the better.

Also read: Was Jayalalithaa murdered? Shakespeare in Tamil Nadu


Anand Balasubramanian Anand Balasubramanian @absaysthis

Writer is a man of letters who is passionate about his politics, environment and films.

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