Rajinikanth enters politics, to float new party

Swathi Moorthy Chennai | Updated on January 09, 2018

Big bang: Rajinikanth flashes his signature ‘mudra’ after announcing plansto float a political party, in Chennai on Sunday - Photo: Bijoy Ghosh

New outfit to contest all 234 Assembly seats in 2021 polls; icon says TN politics ‘shameful’

At the Raghavendra Kalyana Mandapam, the drum-roll for a big announcement played all morning. And when it finally came, after more than 20 years in the making, it took a full five minutes for an electrified crowd to calm down, albeit temporarily.

On Sunday, superstar actor Rajinikanth, clad in a white kurta, announced his entry into politics, that he would float a political party and that it would contest in all 234 of Tamil Nadu’s Assembly constituencies.

The actor’s fans have been expecting the actor to take the political plunge since 1996, when he expressed his support for the DMK-TMC alliance. “I’m not entering [politics] for position or fame. I have enough of both. If it is a position I’m coveting, I would have entered [politics] back in 1996. That is not my intention.”

“Then what am I in it for?” he asked, rhetorically. Laying out the rationale, Rajinikanth said politics in the State had become “tainted and democracy is deteriorating with people in power looting people”. “Also, over the last one year, the political happenings in Tamil Nadu have made us hang our heads in shame; we have become the laughing stock,” he said.

The ‘Thalaivar’, which translates to mean leader, or boss, said: “The time has come for political change in Tamil Nadu. Time for the politics of truth, accountability, credibility and transparency; politics not based on caste or cash, but on spirituality.”

He said that he intended to clean up the corrupt system, but said that this could only be achieved with “God’s grace and the people’s support”. “I’m confident of getting both,” he said.

On his plans for the party, Rajinikanth said: “First, I want to bring together all registered and unregistered clubs, which probably run into lakhs, and want them to be recognised. I want more people to join, especially women and youngsters, to create a team of guardians who will form the pillar of my party.” But until that is completed, the actor said, he will not engage in political debate.

The actor’s political entry has been mostly well-received by commentators, politicians and well-wishers. His fans celebrated the announcement with fireworks, and distributed sweets.

Popular actor Ravi Raghavendra, who is also Rajinikanth’s brother-in-law, said: “There is a vacuum in the State and people are yearning for someone who is earnest, honest, has got integrity as well as the intention to do good for the people.”

Vaisiyan AM, head of North Chennai Rajini Narpani Mandram, said: “This is the day I have been waiting for. My hero is a wise man and there is no better time than now to enter the political fray...ours will be the politics of truth. It will be a [return to the] golden age of Anna and Kamarajar,” he added.

Jai Ganesh, a 40-year-old IT employee, said: “I have been waiting for this moment for the past 25 years. Though, we fans, knew that he would be coming [to politics], it is great that it has been declared officially.”

Twitter was abuzz with wishes for the actor on his political entry. Many celebrities, including Amitabh Bachchan and Kamal Haasan, wished the new venture well.

Political commentator Sumanth Raman tweeted: “This is a huge news politically and will change dynamics of TN politics. The speech is effective. But it remains to be seen how he builds on this.”

S Gurumurthy, Editor of political weekly Thuglak, tweeted: Rajni’s entry into TN politics will hopefully bring about tectonic changes in the 60-year-old frozen Dravidian politics.”

Published on December 31, 2017

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