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Politics Joins Rajinikanth to Rock Tamil Nadu; Superstar Likely to Name New Party by Pongal on Jan 14

Cheered on by hundreds of supporters at a marriage hall in Chennai, Rajinikanth stopped short of announcing a political party, but said he will launch one at an “appropriate time” to contest all 234 seats in the Tamil Nadu assembly elections.

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Updated:December 31, 2017, 6:05 PM IST
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Politics Joins Rajinikanth to Rock Tamil Nadu; Superstar Likely to Name New Party by Pongal on Jan 14
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Chennai: It finally happened. After decades of speculation, denials and flip-flops, Rajinikanth finally announced his political entry.

Cheered on by hundreds of supporters at a marriage hall in Chennai, Rajinikanth stopped short of announcing a political party, but said he will launch one at an “appropriate time” to contest all 234 seats in the Tamil Nadu assembly elections.

Sources close to the actor told CNN-News18 that he would likely name his party and chalk out a strategy by January 14, the day Tamil Nadu celebrates the harvest festival of Pongal.

The announcement ended two decades of speculation over the entry of the actor, who enjoys cult status in Tamil cinema, in the political arena.

"I am joining politics and it is for sure," said the actor clad in a spotless white kurta and sporting a grey beard.

Batting for honesty in politics and good governance, he said, "everything needs to be changed" and declared that "spiritual politics" needs to be ushered in, sans shades of any caste or religion with transparency.

"This is my motto and desire," he said and appealed to people to support him in his venture adding it was not possible to do it alone.

“During the era of kings, they plundered the countries of their enemies. However, in democracy, parties are plundering their own people and such a system needs to be changed democratically,” he said.

Dramatically, he asked for "volunteers," not cadre to see to it that those who prevent amenities and rights reaching the people are thwarted.

Asserting that he will not tolerate nepotism or under the table dealings, he said, "I want volunteers who will keep vigil and who will not go to any officials, ministers or MPs, or MLAs for selfish needs."

Such 'volunteers' should question whoever commit mistakes, Rajinikanth said adding he needed only such people for his party.

"I am only a representative of the people to monitor such vigilantes."
The actor said the first task would be streamlining the existing registered and unregistered fan clubs across the state. He appealed to his fans to bring all sections of people into the club so that it could transform into a party and "till then there is no need to indulge in political talk which includes me."

"Politics and democracy have gone pretty bad," he said and added the some political incidents in the past one year in Tamil Nadu has made every Tamizhan hang his head in shame and people of all other states were "laughing at us."

The actor's remark is seen as a reference to the bitter infighting in the ruling AIADMK, allegations of rampant corruption, perceived political instability, and also the tax raids held at premises in the state, including those linked to the ruling establishment, notably a minister and his associates. The RK Nagar Assembly bypoll in April was also cancelled following allegations of money distribution.

Quoting a shloka from Bhagawad Gita, which stresses the importance of doing one's duty and leaving the result to the Lord, he said "this is the compulsion of time." "Engage in war, if you win you will rule the nation, if you die you will go to heaven. If you go without waging war, they will call you a coward," he said quoting the scripture amid thunderous applause.

Addressing his on the valedictory of a six-day long photo-session meet, he said contesting the local body polls was not possible in view of the short time.

“Entering politics is not for name or fame,” he said and wondered if he would hanker for power now at the age of 68, when he did not have it at the age of 45 when he voiced his first political message against late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.

"If hankering for power comes to me now am I not a fool?" he said and added it will also not suit his stature of a spiritually-oriented person.

In 1996, the actor had voiced his opposition against Jayalalithaa.

Wishes poured in for the actor from fellow actors and politicians soon after his announcement.

Taking to Twitter, Rajinikanth’s cinema and perhaps political rival soon, Kamal Haasan, said, “I congratulate my brother Rajini for his social consciousness and his political entry. Welcome welcome (sic).”



Tamilisai Soundararajan, the Tamil Nadu unit chief of the BJP, also congratulated Rajinikanth on Twitter, saying the saffron party too standards for “corruption-free good governance”.




The ruling AIADMK was more cautious in its reaction, questioning the actor on his political “blueprint”. Party leader Maitreyan even called him a “seasoned” politician. “Anybody is free to enter politics. Rajinikanth is a seasoned politician. But he will have to spell out his political blueprint.”

TTV Dinakaran, who heads the other warning faction of the AIADMK, had dismissed Rajinikanth as a player in Tamil Nadu on the eve of the actor’s announcement. After the announcement, however, he said he was “happy” to see the actor enter politics.

DMK Working President MK Stalin simply congratulated and welcomed Rajinikanth into politics.

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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