Rajini won’t join BJP, own party launch before April 2020, say confidants

Rajinikanth confidants have rejected all speculations that the Tamil superstar may join the BJP and head its state unit and stated that the matinee icon will launch his own political party by April 2020.

The film star had on December 2017 announced plans to launch a political party and contest the 2021 Tamil Nadu Assembly elections.

Ahead of floating a party, Rajinikanth had rechristened his fans association as Rajini Makkal Mandram (RMM) which is expected to be converted into a party in time for the state polls.

Rajini, who had lauded BJP for its pre-poll promise of linking rivers across the country and recently likened PM Narendra Modi and the home minister Amit Shah to Lord Krishna and Arjun over government’s scrapping of Article 370, is seen as a Modi supporter and pro-BJP man in the state of Tamil Nadu.

Following the elevation of Tamilisai Soundarrarajan as Telangana Governor, the post of the state unit chief will have to be filled, and speculations were rife for over a week that Rajinikanth will be the next state BJP chief.

The speculation spread like wildfire in absence of any clarification from his fan club that had been gagged by the actor. Rajinikanth’s close advisor like Tamilaruvi Manian and confidants including AC Shanmugam and Karate Thiyagarajan had to move swiftly to clear the air on Thursday.

“Rajini has no plans to join or head BJP in Tamil Nadu. During my recent conversations with the actor, he had made it very clear that he would launch his party before the 2021 assembly elections. So, I request RMM workers to disregard such rumours,” Manian, a former Congress leader said.

Another close associate, Karate Thiyagarajan, said the actor was busy building the structure on the ground before a possible launch of his party between March and April 2020.

“Rajini is the only leader who is building the party apparatus before launching it. RMM workers are busy in strengthening their booth committees. Usually, political parties will engage in setting up booth committees only during elections. However, RMM has started much before the actual launch. When I asked about this, Rajini said it is a strategy to strengthen the grass-root level organisation. So, Rajini will not join the BJP. He will float his party between March and April,” he said.

Concurring with both Manian and Thiyagarajan, education baron and chief of the New Justice Party, AC Shanmugam, expressed confidence that Rajinikanth would not backtrack on the promise of launching his party. The NJP represents OBC Mudhaliyars and Shanmugam is a long time friend of the actor and had unsuccessfully contested the Vellore LS poll on the AIADMK ticket.

“Rajini will not join BJP. He will definitely float his own party in 2020,” Shanmugam asserted.

According to RMM workers, they have enrolled 50 lakh members across the state.

“We have been engaged with the membership drive since January 2018. So far, we have enrolled 50 lakh members. Our leader will complete his film projects by March 2020. After that, he will plunge into full-time politics,” said a senior RMM leader who didn’t want to be identified.

The BJP too maintains that it had not extended an invite to the actor.

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