Kamal Hassan meets Sonia Gandhi; says no development to report

Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan, on his visit to Delhi in order to complete the formalities of registration of his political party had a brief meet-up with UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi. Preceding to the swearing-in ceremony of Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, Hassan had the interactions with Congress leaders.

Kamal Haasan, who met Rahul Gandhi yesterday, stayed back in the national capital and met UPA chairperson Mrs Sonia Gandhi this morning. That Mr Haasan won’t be meeting any other political leaders during this visit has ballooned into speculation about his newly-formed Makkal Needhi Maiam, or MNM, skewing towards the Congress.

As he emerged from his meeting with Mrs Gandhi this morning, Mr Haasan suggested there was no development to report. To a question if it was a coincidence that he was only meeting leaders from the Congress, Mr Haasan, 63, insisted it was just a courtesy call.

“More than them being leaders, they are one family. I met the son yesterday… and met the mother (today),” he said, a suggestion that his two meetings should be seen as one.

Mr Haasan also insisted that it was “still too early” to speak of any tie-up between his party and the Congress and this topic hadn’t come up in his conversation with the Congress leaders.

“We (only) discussed the political situation in Tamil Nadu … it was a general talk,” he said.

Kamal Haasan has been gathering new political friends among non-BJP parties and had made it a point to fly to Bengaluru last month to see Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy take over. It is here, Mr Haasan said, that he had first met Sonia Gandhi and Rahul. They had exchanged pleasantries and agreed to stay in touch.

Ahead of his party’s formal launch, Mr Haasan did take tips with Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party that came to power in national capital Delhi within years of its launch.

But AAP had started out with an advantage because it was born out of a massive anti-corruption campaign that galvanized public opinion in its favour. Mr Haasan suggested he did not schedule a meeting with Mr Kejriwal this time because the Delhi Chief Minister was expected to take a 10-day break from work for naturopathy treatment in Bengaluru. When told that Mr Kejriwal was still in Delhi, Mr Haasan said they will speak over the phone.

Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth, the other superstar set to launch his political party, were seen to target filling a leadership gap in Tamil Nadu politics after the death of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa of the AIADMK and DMK chief M Karunanidhi becoming politically inactive because of poor health.