Movies mega-star Rajinikanth asked his office bearers if they were ready to "start a political party in January" after they requested him to contest the 2021 Tamil Nadu elections in a meeting, said sources.
Against the backdrop of doctors advising him against entering politics, top star Rajinikanth held a meeting to deliberate the possibility of his political entry with the office bearers of his forum on Monday. The meeting with Rajini Makkal Mandram's district secretaries was held at the actor's Raghavendra Kalyana Mandapam in Chennai.
The Mandram, billed as a 'launch vehicle,' was seen as a preparatory exercise to help the actor float his political party successfully ahead of 2021 elections.
The Mandram representatives requested Rajinikanth to contest the upcoming 2021 elections in the state. However, the leader asked them to be patient until he made his decision on the issue, sources said.
The meeting also saw discussions on whether he should enter the political arena alone with another party. "Some district heads are not working satisfactorily. Only when you work hard, we can go to next level. I’ll decide whether to start the party," Rajinikanth said, according to sources.
The leader asked his office-bearers what the reception would be if he entered politics at the moment. "What is the public sentiment about Rajinikanth entering politics?," he said to his district-heads.
"Can we start political party in January? Are you ready?" he added. A few party representatives said the leader would have a good chance of winning if he started his political journey as soon as possible.
After the meeting, the actor said, "I had a good discussion with my functionaries. They told me their intentions and I gave them my view. I will announce my decision as soon as possible.”
Rajinikanth’s political entry got mired in doubt after the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic. After rumours that the actor could be rethinking his decision to enter politics, the actor put out a release confirming his health complications but informed that he would hold a meeting with loyalists on his political entry. The meeting today is seen as significant in terms of key political decisions, primary among them is the fundamental question of whether to enter politics or not.
Assembly elections are due in Tamil Nadu during April-May 2021. Rajinikanth had on October 29 said he has been advised against entering politics by doctors as he had undergone a kidney transplant in 2016 and due to the coronavirus pandemic. The disclosure of his health status was seen as an indication that the actor was seriously rethinking launching a political party.
Among the political parties, Rajinikanth’s entry is a highly anticipated development in Tamil Nadu, a state where Dravidian parties have ruled the roost for over five decades now. So far, the 71-year-old actor has revealed little about his brand of politics or policy, barring interspersed support for the Modi government on key developments such as the abrogation of special rights in Jammu and Kashmir, the controversial CAA Amendment, and so on.
In Tamil Nadu, he appears affirmative of the politics of AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran (MGR), vowing - at a public meeting held some months back - to bring back the rule of MGR.
The actor’s celluloid contemporary Kamal Haasan had begun his own political journey in February 2018 and contested the Lok Sabha polls to secure over 3.7% votes during the election. With Rajinikanth’s political entry still undecided, the pitch could get further cloud in uncertainty ahead of the state Assembly elections.
Rajinikanth had on October 29 said he has been advised against entering politics by doctors as he had undergone a kidney transplant in 2016 and due to the coronavirus pandemic.
(With inputs from Poornima Murali)