Tamil Nadu leaders welcome Rajinikanth

Political leaders in Tamil Nadu on Sunday welcomed actor Rajinikanth’s entry into politics and his decision to contest the next Assembly elections.

DMK leader M.K. Stalin said Rajinikanth had finally put a full stop to the expectations of his fans but asserted that the DMK was not bothered by the actor’s political plunge. Chief Minister K. Palaniswami, whose ruling faction suffered a shock defeat in the R.K. Nagar Assembly constituency, said anyone was free to enter politics in a democracy. Palaniswami’s rival T.T.V. Dinakaran, who was elected from R.K. Nagar by a whopping margin, also hailed Rajinikanth’s decision. On Sunday, Rajinikanth said he would practice “spiritual politics” and contest all the 234 Assembly seats in the next elections. He said his entry into politics was a “compulsion of time”. Tamil Nadu BJP chief Tamilisai Soundararajan welcomed Rajinikantha’s decision and hoped he would support the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha election. State Congress President S. Thirunavukkarasar pointed out that the actor had not come into politics fully and his comment that the system was rotten was aimed at the ruling AIADMK. Political analyst Jhon Arokiasamy told IANS: “Urging his fans not to comment on the political situation till the party is floated shows that Rajinikanth wants to see through safely his two upcoming movies. “His main task now is to set up the party infrastructure across the state, reactivating many of his fan clubs and converting them into a political force.” Arokiasamy added: “What Rajinikanth’s announcement will be doing is to increase the perception that the influence of two Dravidian parties – AIADMK and DMK – in Tamil Nadu is on the decline.” (IANS) // ]]>

Rajini signals 'spiritual' politics in Tamil Nadu

Accusing political parties of “looting” the people, Tamil superstar Rajinikanth on Sunday said he will float a new party that will pursue “spiritual politics” and vowed to contest the next Tamil Nadu Assembly election. After years of will-he-will-he-not uncertainty, the 68-year-old bus conductor-turned-heartthrob of Tamil cinema told cheering supporters here that his decision was a “compulsion of time”. Alleging that politics in the country had gone “very wrong”, Rajinikanth said in Tamil: “Under the guise of democracy, political parties are looting their own people.” Such a system, he added, needed to be changed.

He said his party — the hugely popular actor did not name it — would not contest the upcoming local body elections due to lack of time to prepare but would field candidates in all the 234 Assembly constituencies in 2021. A decision on the 2019 Lok Sabha polls would be taken at an appropriate time, he said. In a clear attack on the ruling AIADMK, Rajinikanth said the happenings in Tamil Nadu in the past one year — since Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa died in December 2016, leading to splits in the party — had made the state a laughing stock. He urged his legion of fans not to talk about politics or comment about other parties till his party was floated. Film fraternity welcomed his decision. Actor Kamal Haasan, who is planning to take a plunge into politics, extended a warm welcome and greetings to megastar Rajinikanth in the political arena. “Greetings to brother Rajini for his social feelings and political entry. Welcome, welcome,” Kamal tweeted. Born into a humble Maratha family as Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, Rajini — as Rajinikanth is popularly known — became a bus conductor after doing odd jobs as a coolie and carpenter. Once he took to Tamil filmdom, there was no looking back. Tamil Nadu warmly embraced him, never seeing him as an “outsider”, and Rajinikanth became an icon in Tamil film industry, his movies running to packed houses. The Rs 26 crore deal he signed for the movie “Sivaji” (2007) then made him the highest paid actor in Asia after Jackie Chan. On Sunday, Rajinikanth said his first task would be to get many of his unregistered fan clubs affiliated with the parent body. He underlined that he was not getting into politics for the greed of power. He was not interested in political power at age 45 and, so, there was no question of he having the desire now – when he was nearing 70. Rajinikanth admitted that in a state with a plethora of political parties, it would be no easy task to float a new party and face the voters. “It is like taking a pearl from the deep sea.”

(IANS) // ]]>