Season of political start-ups!

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Kamal Hassan and Kodandaram political Parties

Indian movie actors and actresses have a penchant for politics. After charting out a successful career in acting, dabbling in different roles, many wish to be reborn in a political avatar. From Bollywood to Tollywood and down south, we have many heroes and heroines who have turned ‘public servants’ with lofty ideals but failed on promises.

The latest to join the long list is Kamal Hassan who has finally put an end to rumours and speculation by announcing his decision that he is ready for a political avatar in real life. Unfortunately, one can’t run a party and get votes –winning hearts and minds won’t be enough – by mere rhetoric or cine dialogues. It’s money that talks. Kamal set a funding target of a modest Rs 30 crores for his political start-up and expects his fans to contribute. Given his fan following in the country and outside of it, it may not be an unachievable goal. But, after launching the party, can it run on fans’ patronage only?
Nevertheless, the actor’s entry onto Tamil Nadu political stage can significantly change the present scenario and the two-party Dravidian matrix, dominated by pro and anti-Amma (the late former chief minister Jayalalithaa) forces. Those who are fed up with the internecine political battles can find refuge in Kamal Haasan’s camp. Though it’s a far-fetched suggestion, Tamils would like to wait and watch his untested performance on the emotion-charged and sentiment-filled political theatre. But, he has to watch his tongue before embarking on campaigns. Religious comments like Hindu terrorism and diatribes against the rich (they are the first to get involved in plunder) won’t help him push his agenda.

In Telangana, Chief Minister KCR’s beta noire Prof M Kodandaram is veering round the view that it’s not a bad idea to convert his Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) which spearheaded the separate state movement into a political party.

In fact, ever since the two comrades in arms fell out soon after the formation of a new state, there were faint hints that Kodandaram should launch a political party “to fight for justice to farmers and students” with the help of like-minded people. The professor is known for his leftist leanings and leftists’ support to him in case he floats a party is not ruled out.

More importantly, Kodandaram’s hobnobbing with Congress leaders has not gone down well with the ruling TRS and its leaders deride him as ‘Congress agent.’ Notwithstanding that kind of taunts, Kodandaram sees mutual benefit if he goes with the main opposition in the state. Moreover, he draws considerable support from farmers and students, the two segments that stood by KCR earlier. If his political ambition takes wings, the new party is expected to have an arrangement with Congress to take on TRS in the next poll.

The question being asked, however, is can Kamal Haasan and Kodandarm bank on the fan and student following, respectively, to bring down the ruling parties with money and power? Indeed, it’s a start-up dilemma!

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