Curtains down on the Rajini factor

The curtains are finally down on the longest possible political opera, with actor Rajinikanth deciding to take a bow and exit politics before even entering. The actor, who dipped his toes into the political waters two days into December with a “now or never” cry, turned around from taking the plunge two days before the month ended.

The actor was admitted to a hospital last week with high blood pressure and discharged after two days, with a medical advisory to keep indoors and away from stress. He was to announce the launch of his political party by December 31, when news of his hospitalisation kept political pundits and fans guessing, something they are so used to by now. His film peer, Kamal Haasan, dived into the political ocean without as much as a safety jacket, while Rajinikanth chose to remain on the shores, testing the waters with his occasional statements loaded with political overtones. Today, he has erased that footprint on Tamil Nadu’s rocky electoral arena.

Rajinikanth’s entry may have certainly forced a political realignment in the bastion of the two Dravidian majors as the actor has a significant fan base. His adieu means both the AIADMK and DMK will be able to focus on their vote bank without worrying about the actor. However, Rajinikanth’s spiritual politics is very much in alignment with the saffron brand of politicking and that may still be a cause for concern for the two parties. For now, the biggest worry lines will be formed when V K Sasikala, close aide of former CM late J Jayalalithaa, comes out of prison on January 27.

Much importance is now being given to the actor’s ‘voice’ that some feel could still sway voters. Rajinikanth may have scrapped his political plans, but he has said he will “guide his fans” and “not hesitate to speak the truth”. There is speculation that his voice could be the climax point of the script. There is no denying that the actor’s famous remark in 1996 smoothened the DMK’s ride to power, but can he replicate it? The superstar perhaps reckons he can still hold the script.

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