Kamal Haasan releases MNM manifesto, assures income for housewives through skill development
Outlining his party's manifesto, Haasan said facilitation is proposed to be made for homemakers to get suitable opportunities to earn and it doesn't mean doles from govt treasury.actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan explained his party’s economic ideology and said why BJP’s brand of politics will not work in Tamil Nadu.
Makkal Needhi Maiam chief and actor Kamal Haasan unveiled his party’s manifesto here on Friday and promised income for housewives by honing their skills.
By initiatives like skill development, women could earn as much as Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 per month and “that is what we call payment to housewives and not doles to them.”
Haasan was the first to promise what he called in December last ‘payment’ to homemakers for their work.
The major parties of Tamil Nadu, the ruling AIADMK and main opposition DMK days ago promised Rs 1,500 and Rs 1,000 assistance to women family heads in their manifestos.
Outlining his party’s manifesto, Haasan said facilitation is proposed to be made for homemakers to get suitable opportunities to earn and it does not mean doles from government treasury.
Through such initiatives, the government would also not be burdened financially and at the same time women could get fair remuneration, commensurate with their skill and work, he said.
Government departments like the electricity generation and distribution corporation, state-run transport entities were facing losses, he said, touching on economy.
By making employees of transport corporations ‘shareholders’ the government run enterprises could be made profitable, he said.
Self-sufficient villages in all the 234 constituencies, support to Micro Small and Medium Enterprises by initiatives like supply of raw materials were among the other features of the manifesto.
Kamal Haasan picked the Coimbatore South constituency to contest in the upcoming Tamil Nadu assembly elections for a host of reasons, but mainly to “lay a democratic siege” and ensure “economic revival” in the region.
Speaking to ThePrint in Chennai, Haasan said: “This is a good constituency to lay a democratic siege on because I will be in a direct contest with the BJP and the Congress.”
He added: “Coimbatore South has seen many instances of engineered communal disharmony. This needs to be countered with a voice like mine.”
Haasan, who formed the Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) party in February 2018 saying he wanted to establish “politics for the people”, “progress for everyone”, and look at issues “neither from a left nor right perspective”, said he would also expose the corruption of the ruling AIADMK.
“I did not chose the Coimbatore South constituency just to challenge the BJP and the Congress and counter communal disharmony but also to expose corruption in the AIADMK bastion of Coimbatore South constituency, which also includes honourable CM Edappadi Palaniswamy,” the actor-turned-politician said.
He added that he will also initiate an economic revival in the region. “Coimbatore was once known as the Manchester of India but lost its glow and shine due to successive governments,” he said. “The 16-hour power cuts under the DMK rule did no good to industries there; most of them fled and moved away to other states. And then came demonetisation and GST.”
Apart from his elaborate economic revival plans, Haasan said the MNM’s economic ideology is focussed on improving the quality of people’s lives.
This, he added, can only be achieved if the focus is less on the poverty line and more on the “prosperity line”.
“Each government, be it the Centre or state, looks at the poverty line. However I want to focus on the prosperity line,” he told ThePrint. “I want to bring Tamil Nadu above that line of prosperity so that even in times of calamity such as Covid-like situations, demonetisation, people will not slip below this prosperity line and will still be able to manage.”
Hindutva and Dravidian ideology
The actor-turned-politician also dismissed allegations by some leaders, such as the DMK’s Dayanidhi Maran and those of the CPM, that his Makkal Needhi Maiam was the BJP’s B-team.
He told ThePrint that he had “no doubt” that the BJP advocated exclusionary politics. “It is important to draw a difference between Hindutva and Hinduism,” he said. “One is a political tool and the other a spiritual path.”
The actor further said the BJP’s “politics of weaponising Hinduism”, was contrary to the Constitution of India, adding that he was confident that the party’s brand of politics would have little resonance in Tamil Nadu.
“Tamil Nadu is a very accommodating state and will always be one, unlike the politics of the BJP,” he said.
Haasan, however, hesitated in referring to the MNM as a Dravidian party. “The word Dravidian is not merely political. It was used politically by a few parties but they cannot lay claim to an anthropological situation like Dravidianism,” he said, adding that the term Dravidian was not just restricted to South India for him, but was something that was pan-national.
As for his party’s principles, Haasan said, “Our ‘ism’ is Centrism.”
“The world was wasting its energy arguing between the Right and the Left, which is a non-productive activity,” he added.
According to him, centrism is not the ideology of the Centre but of effectively putting people in the middle of things.
What sets MNM apart
In the economic revival plan presented by the MNM in December, Haasan had announced the vision for a potential $1 trillion economy for Tamil Nadu.
Part of the vision document was financial compensation for homemakers. Following this, both major parties — the DMK and the AIADMK — announced a Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,500 monthly allowance respectively for women heads of family.
Haasan, however, is unimpressed. “The AIADMK and DMK will push it off as their own ideas. However, such ideas are many, they have never executed such ideas,” he said. “For them, inactivity is a major virtue and corruption a huge distraction from issues.”
Haasan differentiates the MNM from other parties by explaining that for others, politics is a livelihood where they field criminals as MLAs and give bags of money for cash.
“For us, it is not a profession, it is a commitment,” he added. Other parties hide their crimes under the garb of social justice. We have nothing to hide and everything to show.”