As the media waited with bated breath to witness the launch of politician Kamal Haasan’s political party, he finally unfurled the party flag in red, white and black hues.
The flag, which now serves as the logo and symbol of Kamal's newly launched Makkal Needhi Maiam party, depicts six hands holding onto one other. Three of the hands are in red and the other three in white. At the centre of the flag is a six pointed star in black, forming a white core.
Speaking at the unveiling of his party at the Othakadai Grounds in Madurai, Kamal said in Tamil, “If you look closely, you will find the new map of south India. The six hands stand for the six states. The six pointed star represents you and people's justice.”(sic)
It is widely speculated that the actor is including the union territory of Puducherry to the list of five southern states- Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Taking a clear stand against the menace of paying voters money, a problem that has plagued Tamil Nadu for years, Kamal said, "People ask me, can you give Rs 6000 per vote? No, I won't give you 6000 rupees per vote. I don't have that kind of money. I won’t give cash for your vote even if I had the money. I'll spend for you but I won't give it to you in your hands for playing. You were sold out. Had you voted for the right party, you would have even made Rs 6 lakhs per annum. Without realising the value of your vote, you have been fooled by selling your vote. You have sold yourselves."
Explaining his political leanings according to the left-right political spectrum, Kamal Haasan said, “People ask me what is this 'Maiam?', and if I am on the left or the right? That is why I kept the name 'Maiam', which means centre.” He added that he will incorporate the best from all sides.
The name of the party roughly translates to the Centre for People’s Justice in English.
Prior to the unveiling of his political party, Kamal undertook a ‘journey of learning’ wherein he met many leaders including Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal who have spoken out against the saffron politics of the BJP and criticised the communal forces in the country. Kamal himself has espoused staunchly anti-right views.
For several months now, Kamal Haasan has spoken out against the Tamil Nadu government as well as the southern states getting a raw deal from the centre. With topics of Hindi imposition seeing a resurgence in public discourse over the past year, Kamal Haasan’s flag depicting the southern states occupies great significance in Tamil Nadu’s political landscape.
The party launch was attended by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal who said that the people of TN now had the option to choose an honest person and reject the two corrupt Dravidian parties.