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BJP Has an 'Appropriate Place' for Rajinikanth, says Nitin Gadkari

Speaking to CNN-News18’s deputy political editor Marya Shakil, Gadkari said there was an “appropriate place” for the popular hero in the part

Marya Shakil | CNN-News18maryashakil

Updated:May 23, 2017, 1:42 PM IST

New Delhi: Actor Rajinikanth has dropped strong hints of a political plunge and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is losing no time in wooing the superstar, with Nitin Gadkari the first at the Centre to extend an invitation.

Speaking to CNN-News18’s deputy political editor Marya Shakil, Gadkari said there was an “appropriate place” for the popular hero in the party. “He is welcome in politics and it is my request to him to think about the BJP. There is an appropriate place for him in the BJP,” the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways said.

ALSO READ | With Talk of 'Ultimate War', Rajinikanth Drops the Strongest Hint Yet

Asked what this “appropriate place” is and whether the BJP would make Rajinikanth the CM face to make a grand entry in Tamil Nadu politics, Gadkari said it was up to the party leadership.

“These are all important political questions. Neither am I the authority nor am I the decision maker. The party president and party parliament board will make a decision.”

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Gadkari’s statements come amid strong signals from the actor, fondly called Thalaivar (leader), over his possible political plunge. Rajini had earlier this week made statements about politics and the system being rotten. He had asked his fans to be prepared for a "war", saying in olden days kings seldom maintained massive standing armies but the men will always turn up when a battle ensued.

ALSO READ | From Baba to Jaya: When Rajinikanth Flirted With Politics

The statements by Rajinikanth had sparked off a series of debates about his possible political entry, reminding of the similar hysteria in 1996 when he openly defied the then Chief Minister, late J Jayalalithaa, asking people to vote against her government.

Now, Rajinikanth’s fans want him to fill the vacuum in Tamil Nadu politics.

"You can't imagine the kind of support given to Rajinikanth in south India. He is a good human being. And he is Marathi. When you enter his house, you can see a big photo of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj,” Gadkari said.

ALSO READ | Rajinikanth Spoke Like PM Modi, Says RSS Ideologue

Rajinikanth was born to a Marathi family in Karnataka. His real name is Shivaji Rao Gaikwad, something Gadkari’s party colleague Subramanian Swamy has been too happy to point out, saying Rajini would be a “disaster” in politics.

Swamy Ji has got his independent opinion. I don’t want to comment on them. But I feel BJP is an appropriate party for Rajinikanth,” Gadkari said, adding that in his private discussions with Rajinikanth, he had asked the actor to join politics.

"Whenever I visit Chennai, I meet Rajinikanth. He is a very good friend of mine. Earlier too I urged him to consider politics, but at the time he told me ‘Nitin ji, I am not fit for politics’.”

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| Edited by: Aditya Nair
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