I am waiting for Rajini sir to announce his plan and then I will take a call: ‘Singham’ Annamalai Kuppusamy

Former IPS officer says Sathankulam custodial death is black mark for Tamil Nadu Police, but should not label the entire police department with just one incident.

Ever since he hinted at entering electoral politics, Annamalai Kuppusamy has been at the receiving end of both bouquets and brickbats. The former Karnataka cadre IPS officer has served as Deputy Commissioner of Police in Bengaluru South as well as Superintendent of Police in Udupi and Chikmagalur districts. After he quit his job, the former cop has been busy with organic farming in his hometown Karur. He has also started ‘We The Leaders Foundation’ to empower youngsters and train them for better job opportunities and to help farmers by promoting organic farming.

The officer first dropped hints of nursing political ambitions when opened up in a January 2020 TV interview. He said he quit his job and wanted to expand his horizon a bit more and politics could be an option. He said he likes Prime Minister Narendra Modi for being an honest man.

Kuppusamy spoke to indianexpress.com about his entry into politics and the political environment in the state.

What made you quit the police service and start a non-profit?

It is not 1980 or 1990 where we have to take one profession and stick to it for a lifetime. Once you are in a profession, that profession opens up a world of opportunities for you and this was exactly the case with me. Being in the police department and seeing things at a closer level helped me to know why certain things are happening in the society. I used to look at crime from a social perspective… that has pushed me to a different domain now. Having served as a police officer for a certain number of years, it gave me a clear perspective of social ills that are playing on the entire system. I quit my job in 2019 following the death of my close friend. It made me re-examine my life to see life in its full perspective. So I thought we should go back to our grassroots but I was not very clear where and how I am going to do things. While I was traveling around the country in 2019, I realised I need to focus on two things for the betterment of society. One is to work among the youth, specifically to skill them and second is to empower the farmers and bring them under one umbrella to help one another.

We are working on a project ‘Sun Rise’ in Karur where we empower the students, make them better communicators and thinkers which will help them during placements. We have more than 4,700 volunteers in this programme in districts like Karur, Coimbatore, Cuddalore, and others. We don’t do this full time, this is like a volunteer service by the foundation. We believe by empowering these two sectors, some kind of change will happen in the society at the bottom level. We allow them to come and do this so they become leaders in the process. With respect to farmers, we are in the process of setting up an organisation where a group of farmers can come and manage themselves in terms of seed, supply, post-harvest treatment of their products, etc. The goal is to promote organic farming. I have taken a resolution to do farming organically. I cannot push this to others, we need to make a profitable model before others get attracted because I see wherever organic farming is pushed, people don’t take it because at the end of the day, profits matter for them.

What do you think of PM Modi and his policies?

From a holistic perspective, PM Modi has made an honest attempt to bring in reforms to address a lot of issues that our county has had for a long time. One thing I could say is GST. It is not like GST was mooted by him, it was mooted by the previous regime also but somehow it couldn’t see the light of its day for many reasons and PM Modi was able to achieve it. Likewise, from a security perspective, demonetisation was a very good move. I believe it curtailed internal security threats, Maoism, and other kinds of stuff. I feel due to demonetisation, more money has come into the formal economic system, which is a good sign. With regard to Article 370, it is a temporary provision that we kept extending for a long time. The central government thought this is the right time to do and they did it. Many found fault with the process in which it was done. I believe Article 370 and 35A have to go but I think the method in which it was done could have been handled better. Even in the whole debate about CAA/NRC, I think the communication at the lower level was a problem. The social media was too vitiated at that time; no one was ready to listen to what the government was saying. The theory that was circulated claiming that Muslims will become the secondary citizens of the country was not the case. The case is all about persecuted religious minorities.

Rajinikanth said he will establish his party soon and will contest in the 2021 elections. Ever since there has been a constant attack on his Ideology and how he reacts to certain incidents, how do you see that?

There is no room here for some new person. When a person comes with a different vision, he is immediately subjected to harassment and ruthless trolling. His personal life has been brought into discussion rather than what he can offer for the betterment of society. He is bottled up with some ideology. This has to change, new people should enter politics only then there will be progress. In the next two-three months, after Rajinikanth announces his party, we will get to know his policies, what changes he wants to bring into this system, etc. Let us give him some space and then we can discuss his plans. And I cannot disclose anything about the discussion between Rajnikanth and myself. Right now, I have a task in my hand, we are doing something for the betterment of farmers and the younger generation. We need to complete that task before heading to another one. I am also waiting for Rajini sir to come and announce his plan and then I will take a call. He is a superstar and I am a common man. I think the discussion should end there.

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