Film star and DMDK leader Vijayakanth is all set to launch a Tamil TV channel and a vernacular newspaper to help take his political campaigns to the masses. The channel will be launched on Pongal day (January 14) next year, in time for the Lok Sabha elections, the Star’s brother-in-law and party youth wing secretary L.K. Sudeesh said.
Vijayakanth will be the latest to join the bandwagon of political leaders running TV channels following in the footsteps of Tamil Nadu’s unwritten political exercise of mixing politics generously with entertainment to take party activities to the public.
The Maran-owned Sun TV, Jaya TV owned by AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa, Makkal TV run by PMK founder Dr S. Ramadoss, and the DMK-run Kalaignar TV launched in September last after Tamil Nadu chief minister M. Karunanidhi fell out with the Maran brothers are already beaming their programmes into homes across the state. Mega TV started by Congress MP K.V.Thangkabalu and the Vasanth TV, owned by Congress legislator H. Vasanth Kumar, which is on a trial run, are the new entrants on the scene.
With the actor-politician deciding to launch a TV channel of his own, almost all the major political parties will now have their own channels in a state that has pioneered the use of television for effective political propaganda laced with liberal doses of filmy entertainment, observe political pundits.
As for newspapers, all parties, including the state CPM and the CPI have their own party organs in Tamil to express their stand on issues concerning politics to their cadre. Although the DMDK leader is determined to start a channel and a newspaper in Tamil, he has not yet decided on what they will be called.
Sudeesh said, “It is true that we are actively working on the TV channel and the newspaper. The names have not yet been decided. We have suggested five or six names to the Captain and his word will be final. However, the documents seeking government approval for both the media projects will be submitted within a week.”
Party said although the names Captain TV and Captain Murasu are preferred, they are under scrutiny as he and his close aides feel Captain is not a Tamil word. An office has been set up at New Delhi to obtain clearance for the channel and Mappai Pandiarajan, one of the advisors of the actor, has been entrusted with the job. Informed DMDK sources said Vijayakanth was keen on launching the newspaper ‘at the earliest’ but was ‘a bit concerned’ about the huge investment required for starting the channel.
“In any case, our party and Captain are getting good coverage on the prime channel, namely Sun TV,” said a party senior leader. When the channel is finally launched, DMDK officials said, “Captain’s wife Premalatha would have a major role in deciding on the content and recruitment of staff.”