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Ending years of suspense, Rajini to float party next month

TE Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on December 03, 2020 Published on December 03, 2020

Rajinikanth at a press meet at his residence in Chennai, on Thursday   -  Bijoy Ghosh

“If Jayalalithaa is voted back to power, even God cannot save Tamil Nadu,” film star Rajinikanth had famously said just before the Tamil Nadu assembly poll in 1996.

It was his first real and direct tryst with politics and contributed to the crushing defeat of a then very unpopular Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and her AIADMK. From then on it has been a long 25-year wait for his fans before the ‘Superstar’ actually took the plunge into active politics. With multiple false starts, many had actually given up their expectations of him entering politics. His health issues only added to the uncertainty.

On Thursday, the actor finally announced that he will indeed float a political party in January, ahead of the Assembly elections due in May. An announcement will be made in December, he added. “In the Assembly elections in 2021, with the support of the people, the party will surely win and give Tamil Nadu an honest, transparent, corruption free and no-caste-or-creed spiritual politics. A miracle will surely happen. Will change everything. If not now, never,” he said in a tweet.

The decision to enter politics was to usher in a change in the State, he he told newspersons at his residence. “If I succeed, it will be the success of the people. If I get defeated, it will be your defeat. Let us transform everything.” The actor’s fans celebrated his decision by bursting crackers and distributing sweets.

In the past, many political parties have tried to rope in Rajini to take advantage of his mass appeal. In 1996, Tamizh Maanila Congress leader GK Moopanar sought his help in the elections, which the actor refused. In 2004, Rajini pledged his vote for the BJP-AIADMK alliance based on an assurance that the BJP would strive for linking all the rivers to solve the drinking water crisis. In 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally visited the actor ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. However, Rajini took a serious view on entering politics only after Jayalalithaa's death in 2016. In 2018, he started the Rajini Makkal Manram, seen as a precursor to his political entry.

What lies ahead?

It is not clear how his entry now will play out. Last week, the BJP and the AIADMK announced that they will fight the Assembly election together. Will his party be part of this alliance? Will Rajini ally with his actor-friend Kamal Haasan, who has also started a party, or will he fight alone? Tamil Nadu is waiting with bated breath.

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Published on December 03, 2020
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