Chennai: Actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth on Thursday pulled back the curtains a little on plans for the launch of his political party ahead of the 2021 Tamil Nadu Assembly elections.
In his first official press conference since December 31, 2017, Rajinikanth shot down speculation of CM aspiration, saying the chief ministerial candidate of his yet-to-be-launched party would be someone “young and well-educated”.
With a two-leadership system for party and the government, the former would act as an "opposition" to highlight issues and would not even hesitate to "remove", apparently the head of the government, if it fails to perform, he said.
His prospective party would focus on including a substantial amount of youngsters in the age group of below 45 years while the rest would comprise retired judges and IAS and IPS officials among others. "I myself would reach out to them and invite them," to join him, the 69-year-old actor said.
Contrary to expectations, he however, did not make a concrete statement on floating his party but called for an "uprising" by youth, after which he would make his formal political entry.
To maintain that he had made his stance clear in 2017 when he said he is ready to take the political plunge, Rajinikanth played a video of his old speech in which he said he held no hopes of becoming the chief minister.
“I will be a party leader and the CM will be someone who is a youngster, educated, and has vision and self-respect. The party leader will work like an opposition leader. If they (elected representatives of the party) don’t listen, we will remove them, but it won’t be a parallel government…This is my plan,” he said.
The 30-minute speech by Rajinikanth dashed hopes of the actor’s die-hard fans who had hoped that their ‘Thalaivaa’ (leader) could be a potential CM candidate in the post-Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa era in Tamil Nadu.
The district secretaries of Rajini Makkal Mandram, the actor’s fan club and launched for the party, too, expressed disappointment over his decision this Thursday when Rajinikanth met them.
The actor said he was upset that none of the office-bearers of RMM accepted his proposal. “A good follower is someone who listens to his leader. A leader who listens to everything his followers say is not a good leader,” Rajinikanth added.
Political observers say Rajini has indirectly made it clear that 2021 is a battle between the AIADMK and the DMK.
“As Rajini has conceded it, it is the two Dravidian majors’ domination all over again. Also, the BJP that purportedly counted on Rajini may have lost further steam, and has one option less in assembly polls,” said analyst N Sathiya Moorthy.