Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu:
On his campaign trail, Makkal Needhi Maiam chief Kamal Haasan today invoked the welfare legacy of iconic leader late MG Ramachandran and said the former Chief Minister belonged to the whole of Tamil Nadu.
Refraining from naming the AIADMK, he said the party was annoyed after he highlighted MGR in his recent address to a gathering and they claimed the leader belonged only to them.
The late leader, however, belonged to the whole of Tamil Nadu and not just to a party, he said addressing a MNM event in Sivakasi.
It was the reason why the people adored him as ‘Makkal Thilagam’ (leader of the people) notwithstanding his party affiliation, be it the DMK or later, the AIADMK which he founded, Mr Haasan noted.
All the people in the state would say MGR belonged to them and when this was the case, if the ruling party wanted to get him labelled as the leader of only one party, then the public shall give their verdict against such a stand, he said, adding such a flawed stand worked in their favour.
He tweeted saying he grew up ‘on the lap of MGR’ while several Tamil Nadu Ministers would not have even seen him personally. He tagged a 1980’s video clip of MGR honouring him with a shawl and award and kissing him. The video appeared to be recorded at a film function.
Superstar Rajinikanth and the BJP have also clung to MGR’s legacy of welfare that had drawn the ire of AIADMK which said it was the only successor to his legacy.
MGR is popular and loved by people for several welfare measures during his tenure between 1977-87, including the nutritious meal programme for state-run and government aided school students.
Without naming any parties, Mr Haasan said Tamil Nadu would give a fitting reply to those who thought of wrecking India’s pluralistic ethos through caste or religion.
Tamil Nadu always had a distinctive feature and it shall give its verdict against such divisive tendencies, he said.
He also reiterated his earlier promises of honest, corruption free government.
On December 13, launching his campaign for the Assembly elections, due next year, from Madurai, he hinted at the possibility of political realignment in Tamil Nadu.
He also said he was ‘continuing’ the dream of late MG Ramachandran to make ‘Madurai’ the state’s second capital.