Actor Kamal Haasan launched his political party, Makkal Needhi Maiam, or Centre for People’s Justice, in Madurai on Wednesday night. “This is your party. This is the party of the people. I am just a part of it,” Haasan said, addressing the gathering.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was on stage with the actor during the launch. In September 2017, Haasan had met Kejriwal soon after he admitted that he was likely to step into politics.

“I see the faces of a lot of leaders in the crowd here,” Haasan said, according to News18. “You need to be an example. I am here to listen to you. Not to tell you what to do.”

The party flag shows its symbol – six hands forming a circle with the colours red, white and black in the background. “[The] flag logo is like a new South India map. The six hands indicate six southern states,” Haasan said.

At the launch, Haasan mocked the people who had criticised his entry to politics. “Those who have little left in terms of age are mocking my age.” The 63-year-old actor said his party will not “end with me, it will go on for at least three-four generations,” The Hindu reported.

His speech focused on challenges including providing better education and ending corruption.

“Good education must reach all,” he said. “Communal and religious instigation must end.” On corruption, he said, “If we end corruption, there will be no dearth or stoppage of amenities or access to services.”

Kejriwal congratulated Haasan for giving the people an “alternative”.

“Till now, the state was stuck between two corrupt parties,” Kejriwal said. “Like the people of Delhi, I can see now it is the time for this state to free itself from corruption.” Kejriwal asked people to vote for Haasan if they wanted to see the state get schools, hospitals and electricity.

The party announced a 15-member high-level panel, and among its members are retired IPS officer AG Mourya, actor Sripriya, Tamil professor and actor AS Gnanasambandan, actor Nazar’s wife Kameela Nazar and writer Su Ka, according to The Hindu.

Little political support

Leaders from the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Congress, however, did not support the actor’s venture.

The BJP’s Tamil Nadu unit leader Tamilisai Soundararajan told reporters the actor seems to have “started a political party to compete against someone”, in a reference to actor Rajinikanth, who has also announced his plans to enter politics, IANS reported.

“Anyone can float a political party, but Tamil Nadu is not in a situation where only Kamal Haasan can save it,” she said.

DMK Working President MK Stalin said actors entering politics are like “paper flowers that do not have fragrance, that will bloom during a season but they will wither very soon”.

The Congress’ M Veerappa Moily said Haasan’s party does not have the political space in Tamil Nadu to grow, PTI reported. The former Union minister said DMK and AIADMK are dominant regional political parties, and Rajinikanth has also announced plans to float his outfit.

“So, I don’t think there will be much space left for other regional parties, unless they align with these mainstream parties,” Moily told PTI. He said Kamal Haasan’s prospects were “very marginal”.