“I am part of the CPM’s cultural wing - Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers and Artists Association (TNPWAA). When writer Su Venkatesan contested in the Madurai LS seat in 2019, I campaigned for him. Prior to that, I extended support to issues that affected the people. In the last couple of years, the BJP, with the support of the AIADMK, brought CAA, farm laws and education policy into TN, which will affect students from poor families. Hence, when the elections came, I thought I should definitely approach the people to make them understand who is against them and who is going to work for them,” she told DT Next over the phone during a break on Saturday afternoon after campaigning for CPM’s Kovilpatti candidate K Srinivasan.
Rohini, who was vice president of TNPWAA, said she always shied away from campaigning because she never thought that people would never take actors campaigning seriously. “But then I thought as people know me and what I stand for, I wanted to create an awareness,” she said. When asked why she decided to campaign for CPM candidates, she said according to her observation, communist cadre and leaders work for the public and they would stand with people even when they are not in power.
The actress-turned-activist said that she was highlighting three major issues in her campaign– drinking water, drainage and rampant unemployment. “People are unhappy over the steep hike in gas cylinder prices. The public has also been complaining about the poor quality of ration rice. The implementation of the GST has badly affected small industries,” she said.
Taking exception towards BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, preaching about development and women safety, Rohini said that in several aspects, Tamil Nadu was better than other states. “Why are they not talking about developments in BJP-ruled states? What is the development there? What is the protection for women there? People are very well informed here and that is the reason they are against BJP,” she asserted.
On MNM leader and actor Kamal Haasan’s centrist ideology and the actors taking a political plunge in TN, she said since she was unaware of the ideology, she couldn’t comment on it. However, she felt that Kamal should not take it forward based on two points - supporting genetically modified crops and the issue of reservation. “Anybody can come into politics from any work or discipline. But what you are trying to promote is the most important thing and also one needs to meet people to understand their issues,” she said to the question of actors entering politics.