Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan has made it clear that any political alliance with superstar Rajinikanth is unlikely if his colour is 'saffron', in an apparent reference to the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Haasan, who had recently announced his foray into the electoral politics, said that his 'true purpose today is to challenge the status quo and mediocrity in politics, that is plaguing the state of Tamil Nadu'.
Responding to a question on Rajinikanth joining politics, Haasan did not rule out an electoral alliance with him if there is some commonality of thoughts and ideas between them and similarities in their manifestos. But, he quickly referred to the sharp differences between them -- on religion and on 'saffron', which was interpreted as the BJP.
"I hope Rajini's colour is not saffron. Alliance with Rajini is unlikely if his colour is saffron," Haasan said at the annual Indian conference of the prestigious Harvard University.
"I cannot see a clear understanding now," Haasan said when pressed by moderator Barkha Dutt on the sharp ideological differences he has with Rajinikanth.
But he kept the doors open.
"If necessary (I will hold hands with others)," Haasan said, noting that this is unlikely to be the case.
He also ruled out a post-poll alliance.
"If there is no majority, its the people's verdict. Then I would not have to sit but stand and wait for the next time," he said, indicating that he would prefer to be in the Opposition if his party does not get a majority.
"The reason that I have started a new political party itself shows that I want to walk with the people and not politicians," he said.
"All is not well with Tamil Nadu," he said, slamming the current lot of political class in his state. The entry of the two top Tamil film stars comes against the backdrop of a perceived vacuum in Tamil Nadu politics after former chief minister J Jayalalithaa's death in 2016 and the ill-health of DMK chief M Karunanidhi for over a year following which he was inactive in politics.
Responding to a question on the so-called love jihad, the actor said, "I think that a new revolution is on its way. I do not know about jihad, but love would triumph hate."
Haasan said Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party head Arvind Kejriwal had met him in Chennai and offered an alliance with his party.
"I intend to take it (the experience) not only from Mr Kejriwal but from others as well," he said.
In his keynote address, Haasan rued that there is status quo and mediocrity in Tamil Nadu.
Confident of raising funds for the elections, Haasan called upon the Tamil community across the world to come up with ideas. He will a major announcement on February 21.
He also announced to adopt a village each in every district of the state as part of his objective to reimagining and rebuilding Tamil Nadu.
"I am announcing a plan of adopting a village in every district of Tail Nadu... With the vision of making them the best villages in the world," he said.
Haasan said that he will begin with one village and then scale up it to every district of Tamil Nadu.
The film star quoted Mahatma Gandhi's idea of a self-reliant and self-sustainable village.
Photograph: R Senthilkumar/PTI Photo