Chennai: Actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth has unveiled stringent rules for “Rajini Makkal Mandram”, a precursor to his yet-to-be launched political party, under which members of religious and caste based outfits are barred from joining.
The 36-page bylaws of the mandram included several other stipulations like maintaining discipline, a firm no to anti-social behaviour and the need to stay away from addiction to “bad habits”.
The rules, circulated recently, also outlined the organisational structure, a code of conduct and norms for joining various wings.
Rajinikanth has formed the forum after his announcement in December last year that he will launch his own political party and it is seen as prelude to the political plunge. Over the months, the outfit has been adding members from the grassroots level and been appointing office-bearers at various levels.
While making public his political intentions last year, Rajinikanth had said promised his fans “spiritual politics, which is free from caste and creed”.
His thrust on spiritual politics had drawn flak from several quarters, including the DMK, with leaders saying there was no place for such a line in the Dravidian land and branding him as the voice of the BJP-RSS.
Though Rajinikanth clarified that "spiritual politics" only meant secular politics transcending religion, caste and a commitment to good governance, it failed to cut ice.
Now the no caste, no religion rule has evoked mixed reaction from political parties in the state with the ruling AIADMK seeing it as an attempt by the actor to prove his secular credentials.
By bringing in such a rule, Rajinikanth has sought to send out a message that those with Hindutva outfits were not welcome to join him, AIADMK spokesperson RM Babu Murugavel said.
Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi general secretary and former MLA, D Ravikumar said, "it is not a rule, it cannot be implemented practically, it is only a political statement”.
Indian Union Muslim League MLA, KAM Mohammed Abubacker said the actor has not clarified to whom he was referring when he spoke of "caste and religious" outfits.
“Right from his utterances on spiritual politics, there is a confusion about what kind of politics he will pursue and now this is an addition to the confusion,” he said.
However, noted political analyst Sumanth C Raman does not see much significance in the rule. “I don't feel that this is done to show his non-Hindutva credentials,” he said.
The actor had already said his proposed party will be beyond "castes and religions," and the byelaw disallowing members of religious and caste-based outfits from joining it was a continuation of this stand, he said. Hindu Makkal Katchi general secretary Rama Ravikumar said Rajinikanth has every right to frame rules for his forum and party, adding “we welcome and support it..it is all about inclusivity”.