The official Twitter page of Makkal Needhi Maiam also put out a video showing MGR garlanding Kamal and kissing him on his forehead during an award function.

Black and white photos of a bearded Kamal Haasan and MGR in his trademark cap and black glasses
news Politics Wednesday, December 16, 2020 - 12:37

“I grew up on the lap of MGR, Makkal Thilagam is the asset of the people,” said actor-turned politician Kamal Haasan during his poll campaign at Sivakasi on Tuesday. The Makkal Needhi Maiam chief’s attempt at establishing proximity with MG Ramachandran is one amongst many this poll season with several others vying for the legacy of the former Chief Minister and AIADMK founder.

The AIADMK government has been trying to position itself as ‘Amma’s government’ hoping to continue leveraging the late J Jayalalithaa’s popularity. Meanwhile, several others including the BJP have been lining up to stake claim to MGR’s legacy. MGR had been an actor and politician simultaneously, efficiently using his movies to further his political and social messaging. His legacy is that of providing an able administration with shades of populism sans sub-nationalism. 

Another actor embarking on his political journey, Rajinikanth, too has attempted to allude to MGR and cast himself in his mould. During a speech at a non-political event at the MGR university in 2018, Rajini had said “I am not MGR, but can give pro-poor governance like him. When I was in hospital following a nervous breakdown, he used to call up often to inquire about my health.” It was an attempt to establish his closeness with MGR.

Recently, AIADMK’s ally BJP too used the name and picture of MGR in their campaign video which had sparked a row between the alliance partners. Two campaign videos of the BJP heavily featured MGR. One juxtaposed the former CM with the BJP Tamil Nadu Chief L Murugan, while another likened Prime Minister Narendra Modi to MGR. The AIADMK was quick to accuse its ally of appropriation. 

Read: Kamal Haasan questions decision to build new Parliament building

Kamal Haasan, who has been fervently campaigning the last three days also using the late MGR’s name shows the former Tamil Nadu CM’s relevance 33 after his death. Kamal observed that MGR was not limited to a party, was not called either DMK or AIADMK Thilagam, but as ‘Makkal Thilagam’ which shows that he was an asset to the public at large.

Also read: Kamal Haasan says he will contest in 2021 polls, place to be announced later

Few minutes after the speech, the official Twitter page of Makka Needhi Maiam also put out a video where MGR garlands Kamal Haasan and kisses him on his forehead during an award function to further emphasise the connection .Kamal Haasan also took a swipe at the ruling AIADMK, stating that most of the present day ministers would've not even met MGR if he were alive.

The AIADMK has not reacted to Kamal Haasan's statements so far and sources in the party say a strong rebuttal is expected.  

Read: DMDK to decide on alliance for assembly polls in January

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