Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and veteran actor Kamal Haasan on Thursday joined hands to fight communalism and corruption amid mounting indications that the latter would take a political plunge.
After their hour-long meeting in Chennai that comes at a time when Tamil Nadu politics passes through a turbulent phase, Kejriwal, who is the chief of Delhi's ruling Aam Aadmi Party, appeared to suggest that the 62-year-old multilingual star should enter politics. The meeting also set off speculation of a new alignment in the state.
However, the two did not make any grand announcement though Kejriwal said more such meetings would be held in the future. The chief minister lauded the actor for coming out against communalism and corruption.
The interaction over lunch where the two men had mutual admiration for each other was the second high-profile meeting Haasan had with a political figure in three weeks. The actor had called on Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in Thiruvananthapuram on September 1.
Kejriwal described his meeting with Haasan as "excellent," and said the actor was one of the "rare" people who stuck their neck out against corruption and communalism.
Emerging from the meeting at the actor's office-cum-residence in Alwarpet, he said: "It is important at this point of time when the country is facing strong forces of corruption and communalism like-minded people should talk to each other about these issues and should try to work in tandem with each other."
With Haasan by his side, the AAP chief said he was very happy when he learnt that there were a large number of honest people who feel strongly against communalism and communal forces.
Kejriwal said he had always been a great fan of Haasan both as an actor and as an individual.
"Kamal Haasan ji enjoys a reputation of integrity and courage," he added.
"There are rare people who have the courage to stick their neck out and Kamal Hassan ji happens to be one of those who has stuck his neck out and decided that rather than curse from outside he should enter into politics," he said.
Kejriwal said he discussed with Haasan the situation in the country and Tamil Nadu.
"We had a very good meeting. We exchanged our ideas and that was the purpose I came down, to discuss the ideas with him....we had an excellent meeting, and we will continue to discuss and meet each other in the future also," he said.
Haasan, who has been of late critical of the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam on corruption, besides dropping hints of his political plunge, said he was prepared to take advice from anyone who was fighting against graft.
"The reason we got together... the purpose is singular fighting against corruption and communalism. He (Kejriwal) has a great national profile of fighting against corruption and communalism. I also have a little reputation similar to that and it is no wonder we decided to have a dialogue on existing situation," the actor said.
"For me, it is a learning curve. I'm on an educational tourism, asking anybody fighting against communalism and corruption to give me advice," Haasan said.
Earlier, Kejriwal, accompanied by senior AAP leaders Sanjay Singh, Somnath Bharti and Ashutosh, was received at the airport by Haasan's younger daughter Akshara.
This was the second meeting between the two since 2015. Haasan had met Kejriwal in Delhi then.
Haasan has been of late critical of the ruling AIADMK, after having made corruption charges against the K Palaniswami government.
A host of ministers including Palaniswami himself have hit out at the actor, with one of them even questioning if the star had paid his taxes properly.
Tamil Nadu is witnessing churnings in the AIADMK, which is now split between Palaniswami and sidelined party leader TTV Dinakaran. The two are since involved in a power tussle.