Will he, won’t he? Suspense over Rajinikanth’s political entry continues

With just five months to go for the Tamil Nadu State assembly election, one can only wonder when will the “right time” as Rajini says be. When Rajinikanth announced that he will enter politics on Dec 31, 2017, in front of his fans at the very same Raghavendra Kalyana Mandapam (where he had his meeting today as well), he had said his party will contest all the 234 constituencies and bring about a change in the existing scenario.

Rajini had called his line of politics spiritual, which was beyond religion, corruption and one for the welfare of the people. Rajini had asked his supporters to go to every street in the state and pass the message about his intentions and he had told them then, “when the time is right I will give the war cry and at that time all of you be ready to support me.”

But it has been nearly three years since that statement and the wait for clarity in his next move is still awaited. His close aide, Tamil Aruvumanian, on October 2 this year had urged the people that they support the superstar when he makes his political entry.

Today, as we waited outside the Kalyana Mandapam (Marriage hall) Deepak, 30-year-old, spokesperson of RMM said, “If Rajini was to backtrack he wouldn’t have called for a meeting like this. He will give positive news soon.”

“The news that he is not entering is false. In 2017, he very clearly said he will enter politics. The rest of all is speculation, Thalaivar will inform the public when the time is right,” added a 60 year old fan who stood outside the Mandapam with his gaze fixed towards the balcony. Rajini if at the Mandapam will wave at his fans from the balcony and only then would leave.

An IT professional, Hari, who has taken an off to participate in this event says, “Watching a Rajini film on the first day means it is Diwali celebration for us and that is when I usually take leave. This year god (Rajini) has decided to meet us and what is a better reason to take an off?” He further added that it was almost certain that their superstar is not a man who goes back on his words.

Rajinikanth, born as Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, will turn 70, on December 12, 2020, and with the Covid situation posing as a threat to senior citizens and also other health concerns prevailing there has been several doubts raised on Rajini’s political entry.

“If because of the Covid scenario Rajini decides to not enter politics then like how we protect our elderly from venturing out during these testing time we will stand by the superstar as well. Whatever he decides we will follow him,” reiterated Deepak.

SUPERSTAR’S IMPACT

In 1996 Rajini had openly supported the DMK and had called for “Saving Tamil Nadu from Jayalalithaa” and in that election when AIADMK was defeated Rajini was seen as a major game-changer and many had been expecting him to make his political entry soon after. But the wait of his political announcement came to an end, a year after Jaya’s death.

After his announcement, though the superstar had clarified that he will not join any existing political parties, Rajini had personally gone and met DMK patriarch Karunanidhi to seek his blessings. Though against the AIADMK, Rajini like many in the cine field was close to many in the DMK. Rajini is said to have a good relationship with Alagiri, Stalin’s elder brother.

The actor’s political entry is expected to play spoil sport for DMK and AIADMK and many suspected that the superstar who is close to many RSS and BJP Leaders Mohan Bhagwat, Amit Shah and PM Modi was pushed by the BJP to make his political entry. The BJP which had around 5 per cent vote share in the last state election and a little over 3 per cent vote share in the 2019 Lok Sabha Polls is in need of a big face in the state and what better than the superstar himself was how many political commentators had seen Rajini’s entry.

Three years down since his first open statement about his political intentions, Rajini has always tip-toed around issues and on the rare occasions like the Tuticorin Sterlite issue, he has got into controversies.

During the Sterlite protest killing issue, Rajini had said that anti-social elements were present in the protest and that caused the protest turning violent and police opening fire. This statement had sparked a lot of anger against the superstar. Similarly he was criticised for supporting demonetisation.

Over the years, Rajini has learnt the art of evading controversies by saying he will comment on certain issues post entering politics. Now, with the most recent viral statement Rajini not keen on entering politics due to Covid and his health – he clarified that he would meet his district secretaries and then decide on his political journey.

Monday’s meeting was seen keenly for all the above reasons. The meeting was said to throw light on the questions – one – will Rajini enter politics? Two – if yes, when? Three – what will his party and its stand be like?

But there was no conclusive decision. Rajini after meeting the district secretaries said, “The district secretaries assured me that they will support whatever decision I take. I will try to make a decision as soon as possible.”

The RMM members too said, “We can expect a decision by today or tomorrow from Rajini and whatever he decides we will be with him. If enters we will support and if he doesn’t that also we will support.”

With elections around the corner it is a now or never situation for Rajini, what will happen only time will tell but. As the famous Rajini dialogue from Baba goes for Rajini’s political entry – “The baba counting starts now!”

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