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Thalaivar welcome in murky world of politics

Thalaivar welcome in murky world of politics
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Thalaivar welcome in murky world of politics

Highlights

Finally, Rajinikanth took the bite after debilitating far too long the perennial question of ‘to be or not to be’. His decision to contest all the 234 seats and announcement to formally campaign on 31st December has already created too many bubbles in turbulent political waters of Tamil Nadu

Finally, Rajinikanth took the bite after debilitating far too long the perennial question of 'to be or not to be'. His decision to contest all the 234 seats and announcement to formally campaign on 31st December has already created too many bubbles in turbulent political waters of Tamil Nadu. It is definitely going to upset many equations, but the million-dollar question remains whether Thalaivar could hog the spotlight for himself or act as vote cutter to give edge to ruling AIADMK dispensation.

His rags to riches story, from a coolie to superstar, keeps on inspiring the young and the old, his down to earth living standards where he treats all his co-stars and fans with same respect are so endearing in this make-believe world. His spiritual connection and his retreat to Himalayan caves after every movie to be at peace with himself all make Rajinikanth a real human. No one except Rajinikanth has dared to return money to producers and distributors if a film of him doesn't do well. He has lived in a world which is considered cess pool of sex and scandals but without any taint for the last five decades is commendable.

At 70, his decision to enter politics is hotly debated for his health reasons. It is debatable. If Morarjee Desai, Inder Kumar Gujral, Ronald Reagan, Donald Trump and Joe Biden could assume office after 70, why can't Rajnikanth do the same? Question is not whether he can be an NTR or an MGR but what kind of politics he wants to represent in the muddy waters of TN. People had seen enough of political shenanigans of both AIADMK and DMK and want change from the hackneyed and corrupt ways.

BJP's piggy ride with AIADMK and freshly recruited Khushbu will find it tough as star appeal of Rajinikanth far exceeds the Khushbu factor. Stalin, who has inherited political mandate of his father and is still a greenhorn will find road to the Chief Minister's office is all paved with hurdles and obstacles.

Tamil Nadu politics has been dominated by film stars like MGR, Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa who together ruled almost 44 years and the rest of 9 CMs spent 24 years in the office speaks volumes. This shows how popular film stars are with the masses. Rajinikanth's remarks against Periyar created lot of noises and it was sure to create bubbles in Dravidian stronghold.

Either remarks were well thought out or plain act of putting foot in the mouth, but it sure signalled that Rajinikanth stood by it and even the High Court dismissed the case against him. He speaks what he believes not what is politically right. He showed the guts to speak and criticise Periyar for his alleged denigrating the Hindu Gods in 1971, at Tughlak magazine's fifty years anniversary. It was nothing short of political harakiri but he chose to walk where even angels feared to tread.

Rajinikanth is sure to dent political pot because people still strongly believe that he has no axis to grind. They believe that he is risking his reputation and image because he wants to do some real god things for the common person. His personal integrity stands taller than his cut outs at street corners. No wonder Kamal Haasan has also pledged his support to him, not for any love but fearing that if Tamil people ever chose between him and Rajinikanth, he stands no chance.

A good human being, with very high spiritual quotient, who treats fans and admirers with respect, wants to dedicate his remaining life for the common good of masses, must be welcome in the dirty world of politics, with the hope that he will bring with himself a fresh air of purity in public life.

Ashok Goswami, New York

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