Breaking his two month silence on political commentary, actor turning politician Kamal Haasan has written a scathing article in the Tamil magazine Ananda Vikatan, slamming the allegedly blatant cash for votes that was underway during campaigning at the recently concluded RK Nagar bye-elections.
Calling cash for votes “as deplorable as begging”, he said, “The RK Nagar bye-elections are a colossal taint. It is a big taint on Tamil Nadu, Tamil politics and why, even Indian democracy.”
Kamal’s attack comes a few days after his celluloid rival and close friend Rajinikanth made his political entry official. Kamal had tweeted to “his brother”, appreciating his social conscience and welcoming him to politics. After the death of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, Kamal had become increasingly vocal about the state of affairs in Tamil Nadu.
Accusing the people of being complicit by selling their votes, he says, “It is deeply saddening that the people were complicit in a crime that took place so transparently.”
However, he added that people’s poverty was at play here. He said, “Your poverty is pushing you to forget your humanity. To abolish your poverty, your honest vote is the only weapon. If you need this weapon, you need to refrain from instant pleasures like the tokens you got.” Reminding the people of their “humanity”, he wrote, “You who have shown what open hearts can do during the Chennai floods are the ones who have been sold out to the Rs 20 tokens.”
Calling both the ruling party and TTV Dhinakaran as "thieves", he asks, “Is there anything more deplorable than asking for alms from a thief?”
Ground reports and sting operations had shown during the RK Nagar bye-polls, that as much as Rs 20,000 was being offered per vote.
It was widely reported that the ruling party, AIADMK, was handing out Rs 6,000 while independent candidate and now RK Nagar MLA TTV Dhinakaran’s supporters were giving Rs 10,000 per vote. Expressing his displeasure at the corruption, he said, “I won't call something that has happened so transparently mere 'corruption'. Corruption is something that happens discreetly. This (RK Nagar cash for votes) is a crime that everyone was well aware of. This is a defeat, a defeat of democracy. When the cancelled elections took place again the prices were decided as such: the ruling party would give Rs 6,000, the independent candidate who would win without any help(!) would give Rs 20,000.”
Addressing criticism on the silence he has maintained on Twitter, he said, "They ask me why I have given holiday to Twitter when I used to comment about these things regularly. One after the other there are so many things happening in Tamil Nadu. (They say) that instead of commenting on those, I am in America working on Vishwaroopam 2. (They say as though) outraging on Twitter is my only job. Yes, there is no point in keeping that anger as just anger. I have to control it, combine it with wisdom. And the time to put it to use has come. When I am moving towards that, there is no point in talking too much."