Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) founder Kamal Haasan defended his decision of not contesting the parliamentary elections by indicating that his target was not to enter the parliament but to enter the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly with a majority.
Campaigning for the party’s candidate for Madurai constituency, R. Alagar, here on Thursday, he said, “My target is different. You all (the people) know where I am heading. To take me there is your responsibility,” in a veiled reference to winning the Assembly elections.
Coming down on those questioning him for not contesting the parliamentary elections, he said, “But I am standing here amid people. Those politicians who do not have the courage to face the people are criticising me.”
He said his party’s idea in the upcoming election was to send 40 elected representatives from MNM to the parliament who can raise the voice for Tamil Nadu’s rights. “Whoever may be the Prime Minister, we will fight for the rights of the State,” he said.
In response to criticism from certain quarters on funding of the party, he said the party spent the limited money available at its disposal thriftily. “We will show the same caution in spending public money if you elect us,” he said.
‘City has potential’
He said political parties that were in power had kept Madurai city to remain with a rural character in infrastructure and development even though it had the potential to be like any other major cities of the State. “The foundation stone for All India Institute of Medical Sciences was laid after a prolonged delay, keeping elections in mind. If you elect us, we will not work for just elections, but implement projects throughout,” he said
Highlighting the water shortage prevalent in Madurai, he took a jibe at the left parties. “A woman comrade was murdered here since she fought for drinking water. Today, the comrades, who should have been with MNM, have allied with those who hacked her,” he said, referring to the murder of CPI (M) Councillor Leelavathi in 1997.
He criticised the choice of polling date, which falls during the Chithirai festival in Madurai. “It is being done deliberately to discourage people from voting,” he said.
He appealed to the public to vote for MNM candidates, who, he said, were already serving the society without expectations. “They will resign if you feel that they are not up to the job,” he said. He also campaigned for the party’s Virudhunagar candidate, V. Muniyasamy.