The political foray of Rajinikanth

The political foray of Rajinikanth
Highlights

Superstar Rajinikanth is undoubtedly one of the biggest global stars from India and his popularity isn’t confined to the southern parts of the country or the boundaries of India.

Superstar Rajinikanth is undoubtedly one of the biggest global stars from India and his popularity isn’t confined to the southern parts of the country or the boundaries of India.

One of the most followed Indian stars, Rajinikanth is even considered to be God for millions.

In a huge welcome to his fans, the superstar has announced his political aspirations.

Addressing his fans last week at the conclusion of a meeting in Chennai, Rajinikanth announced that he will consider taking the path of politics ‘if it’s God’s will’.

Making a bold statement, Rajinikanth said, "...what do we do when the system is rotten, democracy has deteriorated. This system needs to be changed and a change has to be brought in the minds of people, then only will the country flourish."

He further said, “I have my profession, my job. I have some responsibilities and you have your jobs. Go back to your respective places and do your job. Let's meet when it's time for the war."

The statement caused huge ripples in the political parties who welcomed his decision and reports even suggest that the BJP is trying to rope Rajinikanth.

The actor had been dropping hints of entering politics for a long time. For the past 21 years, Tamil Nadu has been waiting for Rajinikanth to take a plunge into politics as the actor has indicated his entry into the politics several numbers of times but the public has been subjected to disappointment every time.

Now, with this announcement, the people are pinning their hopes that the speculation around his entry would be put to rest once and for all.

With his gigantic aura, Rajinikanth has always managed to make an impact on the public and now, with his political announcement, he is surely the man of the moment.

Also Read: Rajini ready for war?

Tryst with Politics:

While the superstar has maintained a safe distance from the political arena, he even refrained from making any political comments, knowing the effect his popularity held.

Nevertheless, his political statements, even though, very few, decided the electoral outcomes in Tamil Nadu.

Rajinikanth had made a statement on Jayalalithaa back in 1996 ahead of the Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu where he said, "If Jayalalithaa is voted back to power, even god cannot save Tamil Nadu."

The statement came in connection with the attack on the residence of director Mani Ratnam, whose movie Bombay had released at that time. Rajinikanth pointed out the poor law and order situation that prevailed in Tamil Nadu following which the AIADMK party responded with posters carrying vulgar statements against the actor.

Jayalalithaa’s political party AIADMK faced defeat in the 1996 elections. The DMK victory was majorly credited to Rajinikanth’s intervention. However, Rajinikanth admitted that he regretted making that statement following the death of Jayalalithaa in December last year and held himself responsible for Jayalalithaa’s loss in 1996.

Reaction to Rajinikanth’s political entry:

The Superstar’s hint regarding his political aspirations has already become a huge topic of discussion in the political circles.

Congress leader Nagma in an interview to India Today said that Rajinikanth won’t be finding politics as easy as his movies.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting Rajinikanth during his election campaign for the 2014 general elections, it is being reported that the actor is inclined to join the party, courtesy his good equation with the PM. However, Rajnikanth had not endorsed Modi in the run up to the polls.

PMK leader Ramadoss and BJP MP Subramanian Swamy were the few who didn’t seem to be supportive of the move from Rajinikanth.

Speaking about the same, the PMK leader said that actors have ruined the state for 50 years whereas Subramanian Swamy said that it would be better if Rajinikanth stayed out of politics as the latter’s ‘sense of politics is very bad’.

The BJP MP even went on to say that the actor is not educated enough and should come prepared for the harsh realities of politics.

On the other hand, BJP leader S Prakash affirmed that Rajinikanth's entry into politics would change the equation in the state.

Actors’ equation with Tamil Nadu politics:

The actors in Tamil Nadu have time and again proved to be the formidable personalities even in the political arena. The three biggest names from movies who have changed the Tamil Nadu politics - MG Ramachandran, M Karunanidhi and J Jayalalithaa.

Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa ruled the Tamil Nadu politics since the late 1980s and early 1990s and shared power on a rotational basis.

Now, with the demise of Jayalalithaa and deteriorating health of Karunanidhi, a political vacuum has formed in the Tamil Nadu politics. While a chaos has resulted in the AIADMK following Jayalalithaa’s death, DMK has become a divided entity with various factions trying to pull each other down.

With the larger political context prevailing in Tamil Nadu, Rajinikanth choosing to make an entry now is probably the perfect time to fill in the void.

Also Read: Political plunge: Rajini keeps the guessing game on

What next for Rajinikanth?

Having been a part of the film industry for over four decades, Rajinikanth has seen heights of admiration from his fans. Now, as he is yet to announce a political party of his own, it is highly awaited whether Rajinikanth would float his own party or join an existing party.

If he does form his own party, the choice of vehicle, remains to be seen. Also, would Rajinikanth bring in the strength of his fan clubs to form his political party is another aspect which will kick-start the actor’s innings in politics.

Or will he decide to align himself with the BJP, the party he has endorsed in the past.
Prior to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Rajinikanth publicly pledged his support for the BJP-AIADMK alliance and even cast his vote for the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA following the promise of interlinking of India’s rivers to solve the drinking water crisis.

Following his statement, BJP has already welcomed the superstar into their fold.

Criticism:

Rajinkianth dropping a hint at entering politics again seemed to have caused a ripple in the political parties but aside that the excitement for the public has ceased to exist. The actor who has touched upon the idea of political career over the decades several times but never actually came to cross the bridge is one of the main reasons, the move has become monotonous.

Subsequently, the actor’s announcement met with a not-so-kind response on social media as it was flooded with memes on this repeated uncertainty.

Rajinikanth has often been scrutinized for taking ambiguous stands on crucial issues and staying clear from making statements on important debates. Whether it is the Mulliwaikal massacre, when thousands of Sri Lankan Tamilians were killed in 2009 or the Jallikattu protests this year, Rajinikanth has always evaded controversies.

Also Read: 'Will meet when time is right': Rajini thanks Sri Lankan Tamils for support

His non-Tamil background is cited in several reports on his reluctance to give an opinion. Having born as a Marathi, the actor’s family lived in Karnataka but Rajinikanth has been forced to reiterate his loyalty repeatedly to Tamil Nadu.

Even in his recent interview, the actor said that he lived 44 years of his life in Tamil Nadu and was a pure Tamil.

He faced criticism majorly in terms of using people’s expectations on his political entry to promote his movies and that it majorly props up before a movie release while it dies down later.

Rajinikanth’s understanding of crucial social and political concerns might not be known due to his silence on the issues; his emphasis on religion and spirituality, both in reel and real has led to speculation over him joining BJP or even take up a version of the party.
Irrespective of what has been said, the actor’s latest statement is deemed to be a pathway for his entry onto the political stage.

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