Finally, superstar Rajinikanth blows out a puff tossing the political cigarette in his characteristic style. Will he be able to cope with challenges that might come from the fringe outfits and change the idiom of the politics of Tamil Nadu?
TS Venkatesan from Tamil Nadu
One more storm from posh Poes Garden, where the iron Lady Jayalalithaa lived, is going to hit the Tamil Nadu political field. Ending more than two decade old suspense, Tamil superstar Rajinikanth on December 3, 2017 made known his entry into politics by saying, he would launch his own party. It is a first step towards this direction. Party’s name, flag, and policies would be announced later, he said. But how long is a million dollar question again!
“AIADMK won’t suffer losses by Rajini’s political entry. It’s a party nurtured by the late and legendary ‘Puratchithalaivi’ J. Jayalalithaa. Nobody can destroy our party”
“There is no problem with Rajinikanth
“We welcome Rajinikanth”s decision to enter politics. Corruption free India and good governance is the sole aim of BJP too”
“In a democracy, anyone can enter
“I congratulate Rajinikanth, he has finally put an end to his fans expectation. Rajinikanth”s entry will not create any kind of positive or negative impact for the DMK”
“No new face can win over Amma’s loyal voters. There can only be one MG Ramachandran and only one Amma”
Speaking to fans on the last day of the six-day-long interaction sessions at his Raghavendra Kalyana Mandapam in Chennai, Shivaji Rao Gaekwad rechristened Rajinikanth on screen said that he would launch a political party which would contest in all the 234 assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu. He made it clear that with a short notice, his new party would not be in a position to contest the ensuing local body elections. For 2019 Lok Sabha polls, “he would announce his decision at appropriate time”, he added.
Lanching the Website
A day after announcing his political entry, superstar Rajinikanth launched a website and an app on the Google Play store to enrol members for his proposed political party on January 1, 2018.
“I am joining politics for sure,” the 67-year-old said amid thunderous applause from fans. He quoted a verse from the Bhagavad Gita which stresses on the importance of doing one’s duty and leaving the rest to the Lord. “This is the compulsion of time” he added. He said that truthfulness, hard work and growth will be the
slogan of his party. “Do good, speak god and only good will happen, will be the guiding slogan”, he explained. “If I do not take this decision now, the feeling of not having any effort to do good through democratic means to the Tamil people who gave me life will haunt me till my death,” Rajinikanth said.
Politics : From Reel to Real
Rajinikanth has announced his long anticipated entry into politics with much fanfare. A popular star for the masses, his entry into politics was a foregone conclusion given the demigod status he was bestowed with by the people of Tamil Nadu. His off-screen persona, his acts of kindness, his spiritual outlook have all added to the status he enjoys today. However, the most important factor remains the characters he played in his films over the years which appealed to the common man who catapulted him from a superstar to a ‘Thalaiva’(Leader). It was his films that indicated his penchant for assuming a role in public life. We look at a few films which raised hope among his supporters and suggested his entry into politics.
“I am not here for money or fame. I have enough of it. Politics has become very tainted. Democracy has become battered. The political climate in Tamil Nadu has made us hang our heads in shame”, said Rajinikanth. “I know it is no easy task. To contest in the polls, I am confident I will have both God”s blessings and people’s support”,
The conductor-turned-silver- screen-superstar said, “My politics will be based on spirituality, not on religion or caste. This is not a film. This is politics. We have to spread ourselves to every street in the State. I do not want cadres. Only guards for people”.
He succeeded stardom with his unique style that included popping cigarettes into his mouth with ease. His films were sprinkled with ‘punch dialogues’, apparently aimed at the masses. This helped him to have a huge committed mass fan following.
After hearing his announcement, the marriage hall reverberated with slogans of ‘Thalaiva (leader) long live’! They danced to popular tunes waving placards that carried his portrait, typical of his real look of the late 1980’s and 1990″s. “It is Thalaivar’s New Year gift to us,” said a jubiliant fan of Rajinikanth.
“Every party that gets into power has been looting the country. It is time for a change,” he added. “I don’t want cadres. I want saviours who will not work for their own benefit but question wrongdoings. I will be a
representative who will watch over this” he cautioned. A day after his announcement, he has launched a website rajinimandram.org to consolidate his fan base. His brother said party name would be announced on Pongal Day (on January 15).
Elated with his decision, fans in the State lit fire-crackers and also distributed sweets to public on road and, bus, train passengers. Prior to his interaction, mega-size wall posters hailing Rajinikanth had already appeared anticipating his political entry. Political leaders of various hues, Amitabh Bachchan, Kamal Haasan hailed his decision and wished him the best. Kamal is dilly dallying to enter politics. Presently he confined to social media to comment.
Tamil Nadu BJP president Tamilisai Soundararajan in her tweet said “Welcome actor Rajinikanth”s political entry with motto of corruption free good governance which is the sole aim of BJP.”
A senior journalist said, “He should first clarify whether it will be party or not. What about his stand on issues like cow protection, Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, river linking, Cauvery water sharing issue with Karnataka etc. With his fan base most of them
illiterate and semi literate would he be able to bring about the changes he proposed. Rajinikanth makes his political debut only, but he is yet to begin his political journey. There is clearly a leadership vacuum in Tamil Nadu, with the death of Jayalalithaa last year and wheelchair-bound nonagenarian DMK Chief Karunanidhi”s virtual retirement owing to age-related issues. This may help Rajinikanth to make some ripples. His contemporary Kamal Haasan is yet to announce his decision, in all probabilities, Rajinikanth may succeed as people are waiting for a leader with charisma to save them from the wadi they are presently in.”
Rajinikanth would have entered in politics in 1996 when his fan clubs reached their nadi; He could have made a mark in politics at that time; He would have gained more momentum among the populace then.
Another journalist from a vernacular daily said, “Tamil Nadu has diversified religion, language, caste and class. As an actor Rajinikant enjoys support of the secular base. It is too early to predict how far these broad values will get him votes. Politics will not be bed of roses for him. Hence forth he has to be politically answerable to criticism from all which would test his tolerance level, and that will be new to him. Now he is 67 and after another 4 year time when assembly poll comes, will he be in the same pink of health to lead a vibrant political party? His spiritual politics, anti-communalism and other issues need clarification. Is he anti-BJP? Is he playing against Christians and Muslims appeasement politics? What is his stand on anti-corruption. Will he be able to end the 60 year old Dravidian parties’ corrupt rule in Tamil Nadu? It is to be seen whether his fan clubs, like MGR’s, have the strength or power to bring him into mainstream politics.”
“Tamil Nadu politics has been tyrannised by celluloid personalities ever since Dravidianism has taken over the political space from Congress in 60’s and it has produced 5 or six Chief Ministers. So Rajini or Kamal’s entry will not be a trend setter. Glamour and of course money or freebies for votes decide the winnability of a candidate in the State. He would meet the same fate of thespian Shivaji Ganesan and actors cum directors T Rajendar, Bhagyaraj who floated political parties without success”, cautioned an AIADMK leader.
How he is going to face the challenges thrown by fringe pro-Tamil outfits, opposing him for his Marathi roots and previous Karnataka domicile is to be seen. If he really enters politics, it may affect the fortunes of DMK, AIADMK and other parties with youngsters switching sides. It is noted that Rajinikanth is the first one who quoted the Holy Scripture Bhagavad Gita in his political plunge speech in the State and ended it with Jai Hind.