Hours before he launched his two-year-old party’s campaign for the 2021 Tamil Nadu Assembly polls, Tamil film star-turned-politician Kamal Haasan attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the new parliament project for which he had laid the foundation stone recently.
The veteran actor and founder of Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) on Sunday asked what was the point of such a massive financial indulgence at a time when the country’s economy was facing severe turbulence.
“Why a 1,000-crore new Parliament when half of India is hungry, losing livelihood due to coronavirus. When thousands died as the Great Wall of China was being built, the rulers said it was to protect people. To protect whom are you building the Rs1,000-crore Parliament? Please answer my honourable elected PM,” Mr Haasan tweeted on Saturday.
On December 10, Prime Minister Narendra Modi performed a ground-breaking ceremony in the heart of Delhi for the new parliament building, set to be the centrepiece of the Rs 20,000-crore project to refurbish the Central Vista of the national capital.
The construction of the building, however, cannot begin for now since the Supreme Court is hearing petitions challenging the project. Last week, it accused the government of “pushing forward aggressively” with the project ahead of the top court’s decision.
The Tamil leader’s attack on the project came hours before the launch of the first phase of his poll campaign from Madurai. The state elections are due in May 2021, with Mr Haasan himself likely to contest this time, making corruption, jobs, village development, and drinking water his MNM’s key planks. In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the party won nearly 4 per cent votes.
Prime Minister Modi’s BJP, which is allied with the ruling AIADMK, is looking to expand its footprint in a state that has remained largely elusive till now. Ahead of the assembly polls next year, the party has roped in top leaders like Tamil movie star Khushbu Sundar and has been trying to organise emotive rallies like the Vetri Vel Yatra.
Speaking about his own party’s priorities, Mr Haasan today said: “Tamil Nadu remains degenerated. We would set it right. We are launching our campaign complying with government norms.”