Rajinikanth’s political party likely by year-end

CHENNAI: The chances of actor Rajinikanth taking further steps by the end of the year to begin a political party are very bright, one of his confidantes has said, triggering speculation that an announcement is imminent nearly a year after the film star disclosed his political ambitions for the chief minister’s post in Tamil Nadu. AC Shanmugam also said his New Justice Party was waiting to work with the actor’s political outfit in Tamil Nadu.

Announcing his future plans last year, Rajinikanth had said his entry into politics, after his years of dalliance, was certain. In July last year, in his first speech after the announcement, Rajinikanth asserted there was a “vacuum” in Tamil Nadu for a “good political leader.”

The 40-minute speech, which followed the unveiling a statue of former chief minister MGR at Shan-mugam’s Dr. MGR Educational and Research Institute in Chennai, remains one of the few instances where the actor has revealed his political intentions: “MGR took care of the poor, the downtrodden and the middle class. I believe I can replicate his rule,” he told the audience. Rajini Makkal Mandram (Rajini people’s forum), considered a precursor to his political party, had continued to recruit cadre an ..

Speaking to ET after he told reporters about Rajini-kanth’s possible announcements, Shanmugam said, “There is space for someone like Rajinikanth in Tamil Nadu, and we expect him to make announcements by November or December.” Shanmugam also claimed to have had a conversation with Rajinikanth ahead of the actor’s departure for a shooting for his forthcoming movies.

However, Tamilaruvi Manian, a key architect of the BJP’s state strategy in the 2014 Parlimentary elections and also one of the trusted associates of Rajinikanth, said: “While it is for sure that Rajini-kanth will enter politics by beginning a party to participate in polls, the timing of the announcements will purely be at his own discretion.”

People aware of Rajinikanth’s plans believe the actor is focussed more on state elections. “It is my understanding that he [Rajinikanth] finds the local Assembly elections as the well-suited political arena. He is also very particular that a certain momentum needs to be created for his foray, which is why he is very cautious about making announcements.”

Rajinikanth’s cinema contemporary Kamal Hassan has set up a party. An announcement of a party by Rajinikanth could hot up the electoral scene in the state ahead of Parliamentary polls next year.

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