Mumbai: Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan on Friday alleged that the defacing of Dravidian icon Periyar's statue in Tamil Nadu was done to divert attention from pressing issues like Cauvery water sharing dispute with Karnataka.
The veteran actor made this remark while speaking to a TV channel during which he also stated that he entered politics to challenge and change the "crass" and "mediocre" politics of Tamil Nadu.
The Tamil film legend had recently floated a new political party - 'Makkal Needhi Maiam' – putting to rest all speculations about his entry into the murky world of politics.
Hassan also categorically denied that he was anti-BJP, but said that he opposed extremism and anything that brings people hardships.
"I am anti-everything that goes wrong for the people. As for extremism, Hindu extremism exists, read the Tamil papers," he said.
Talking about the vandalism of Periyar's statue in Vellore, Hassan said that it was ''an act of extremism'' and "a diversionary tactic'' to take people's attention away from more pressing issues such as sharing Cauvery water".
Asked why did he start a new party when he could have strengthened an existing, established outfit with an army of cadres, Haasan replied in his characteristic poetic manner.
"What will I do if I am hungry and what is available is rotten food," he asked, asserting that he had no other option but to launch a new party in Tamil Nadu where mediocrity was standard and "rubbish" acceptable.
"I am challenging the status quo. Mediocrity is set as a standard...rubbish becomes acceptable. This has been the state of Tamil politics for nearly half a century," he added.
However, he does not rule out the possibility of aligning with other political parties in future.
He said the decision to join politics was not taken overnight but he had been a politician for nearly 30 years now.
"But I thought electoral politics was not for me. Things have changed now," he said.
He said his political philosophy is based on his learning from Mahatma Gandhi, BR Ambedkar and Periyar.
"Dialogue from Gandhiji and the anger against caste from Ambedkar and Periyar."
Haasan also touched upon his relationship with actor Sridevi, who died last month at the age of 54.
"It's like we came from the same house...we were like siblings. She had a bag of tricks that she picked up from various masters and she used it," he said about her co-star in several Tamil and Hindi films.
(With IANS inputs)