Rajinikanth, the most popular actor in Tamil Nadu, today made it more or less clear that he would enter politics soon.
Going by his comments, the charismatic actor is likely to float a new party, which has made existing parties such as the BJP, AIADMK and DMK nervous.
Speaking to his fans, the actor today criticized the existing ‘political system’ in the country and emphasized the need for a systemic change.
He said Tamil Nadu politics has many great people like MK Stalin, who — taken individually — appear good, but the politics of the state taken as a whole is in a poor condition.
“This means that there’s something wrong with the system. We need to change the system,” he said.
Rajinikanth, however, did not clarify how this change will be brought about, but it is more or less certain after today’s comments that he will either join an existing political party, or more likely, float a new front.
He also said that he has spent over half his life in Tamil Nadu and he considers himself as Tamilian as anyone else.
“Even though I came from outside, even though I came as a Marathi, you gave me love, you gave me name, you gave me fame. You made me a Tamilian,” he told a large gathering of fans who roared their approval.
Both the Bharatiya Janata Party and AIADMK — the former party of J Jayalalitha — are learnt to be trying hard to woo the actor, though maverick BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has publicly aired his doubts about Rajini’s prospects in the world of politics.
HISTORY ON HIS SIDE
Tamil Nadu has a history of drawing its political leaders from the world of cinema.
One of the most famous and successful chief ministers of the state was MG Ramachandran, also known as MGR, who stepped in from the world of movies.
Tamilians also have a history of welcoming with open arms non-Tamilians into their politics.
MGR, for example, came from Kerala, while Jayalalitha traced her routes to Karnataka.
Rajini, born Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, was born in a Maratha family in Bangalore. He was named Shivaji Rao Gaekwad after Chhatrapati Shivaji.
Rajinikanth’s ancestors hailed from a village called Mavdi Kade Pathar in Pune district.
Indications of Rajini’s grand entry into politics has made the Bharatiya Janata Party nervous. The party was hoping to step into the vacuum left by Amma’s demise in the political scene.
BJP leader Sudhanshu Mittal said there are many political forces that are interested in bringing Rajini to politics, “but it remains to be seen if he takes the bait.”
“Politics requires a lot of commitment,” Mittal added.
“We won’t compel Rajinikanth to join politics, we won’t object (to) Rajinikanth joining politics,” said Narayan Thirupathi, a local leader from the BJP.