‘Wait for authentic information’: Rajinikanth’s RMM on auto rickshaw as election symbol

In poll-bound Tamil Nadu, it is ‘star time’. While Ulaganayagan Kamal Haasan is taking to the streets, talking about MGR’s legacy and fight against corruption to garner votes for his Makkal Needhi Maiam, superstar Rajinikanth’s yet to be launched political party is in the news. On Tuesday, speculation was rife that the superstar might use the name of a lesser known party, Makkal Sevai Katchi (MSK) as the springboard for his political entry. There were also reports that his party symbol would be auto rickshaw.

The news reports emerged after an application filed by MSK had the name of Rajinikanth in it. Speculations on the election symbol auto rickshaw has much to do with the actor’s character in the 1995 blockbuster Baasha.

However V.M. Sudhakar, one of the office bearers of Rajini Makkal Mandram (RMM), on Tuesday asked the fans and well wishers of the superstar to wait for an official announcement from the top leadership on the name of the party and its symbol.

A press statement issued by RMM, however, failed to clarify if there is any truth in the news about the name of the party and election symbol. “Name of a political party and a symbol registered with the Election Commission is being attributed to Rajinikanth and RMM by media organisations. RMM urges fans and supporters to wait for authentic information from the top leadership,” Sudhakar said.

The release came hours after RMM functionaries and fans began sharing memes of Rajinikanth with the auto on social media. According to sources, the party’s first preference is the ‘Mudra’ symbol, popularised by the actor, in the movie Baba. Sources say Rajinikanth is unlikely to get the symbol as it resembles the Congress party’s ‘hand’ symbol.

Incidentally, the name MSK was registered as Anaithindhia Makkal Sakthi Kazhagam, which was subsequently renamed as MSK in September 2020. Though the application and the cover letter for registration sent to the Election Commission of India in September had the name of Rajinikanth, it was not from the superstar or the office bearers of RMM.

According to sources, the MSK was registered by one A.J. Stalin and his family members—S.P. James, Antony Joe Raja and Maria John Augustus—who are the office bearers of MSK.

Sources in RMM say it was registered by Stalin and his family members and the RMM has got nothing to do with it. Meanwhile, office bearers of the yet to be launched party, including its chief coordinator Ra Arjuna Murthy, Tamilaruvi Manian and Sudhakar, had a meeting to discuss the launch of the party, public meetings in the future and the superstar’s political path.

According sources, RMM is likely to hold a mega rally in Madurai in January. The actor is also planning to meet people virtually.

Arjuna Murthy is a technology expert, who took Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Nirmala Seetharaman’s digital meetings to every household through the local cable TV operators during the COVID-19 lockdown. He used webex to reach the households simultaneously and sources say, he has been roped in from the BJP with the sole intention of helping Rajinikanth to reach to maximum number of people through the digital platform as the actor may not be able to travel across the state for the election campaign.

Rajinikanth, who announced his political entry 2017, on December 4, 2020 confirmed his plans of launching the political party and contesting the elections. His slogan was “change everything” and “now or never.” However, days after the announcement, the superstar left for Hyderabad along with his daughter Soundarya for the shooting of his upcoming movie Annaatthe. On his way to Hyderabad, he had said, “I will finish the shooting and will be back soon.”

However, Rajinikanth and his RMM are yet to clarify if he will use a lesser known outfit like MSK as his springboard to launch himself or register a new party in his name by the end of 2020.

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