Chennai: Weeks after dropping strong hints of a political plunge, actor Rajinikanth is busy meeting representatives of various outfits.
A day after pledging Rs 1 crore and his support to a delegation of farmers who have been demanding the interlinking of rivers, Rajinikanth met the leader of Hindu Makkal Katchi, Arjun Sampath, on Monday morning. He is scheduled to meet representative of the Hindu Munnani at noon.
After meeting Rajinikanth, members of the Hindu Makkal Katchi spoke to reporters. “We discussed the political system in Tamil Nadu. We have requested him to take the political plunge. He told us he is seriously considering it,” a member of outfit told CNN-News18. “If he floats his own party, the main agenda will be the inter-linking of rivers…. Only Rajini can fill the political vacuum in the state.”
The actor, however, said nothing about politics was discussed in the meeting. “It was just a courtesy meeting.”
The meetings have fuelled speculation that the Kabali superstar would soon join politics. He had told his fans last month to be “ready for war”, adding that the "system is rotten" and needs to be changed.
Adding to the speculation is his upcoming venture, Kaala, whose poster has Rajinikanth seated on a jeep with an eye-catching number plate: MH 01 BR 1956. The year 1956 was the year when architect of Indian Constitution and Dalit icon BR Ambedkar converted to Buddhism.
Several BJP leaders, including Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, have said the actor would be welcome 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 had told CNN-News18.
While DMK working president MK Stalin had said that it was Rajinikanth's wish "whether or not to join politics," others, including pro-Tamil leader Seeman, opposed it. All India Mahila Congress General Secretary and actress Nagma had said days before Rajini addressed his fans that the top star will be successful if he chose to come to politics.
The buzz triggered by Rajini’s comments is reminiscent of the hysteria witnessed in 1996 when he openly defied J Jayalalithaa, asking people not to vote for her. The then hustings saw 'Amma' losing the assembly elections and the DMK-TMC registering a landslide victory.
Having had his run-ins with the powers that be in the past, the actor has come a long way from his first outburst in 1996 when he said "even God can't save Tamil Nadu" if AIADMK was elected again.
In the ensuing political developments, he backed the DMK-TMC (Tamil Maanila Congress, led by the late G.K. Moopanar) combine, which also cashed in on the severe anti-incumbency against the ruling AIADMK. However, the combine could not keep the momentum on as AIADMK staged a good comeback in the 1998 Parliamentary polls.
In the meantime, the actor continued to give some hints of a political entry in his film Baba (2002), which also saw Dr. S Ramadoss-founded PMK go up in arms against his on screen smoking. In the film, dealing with the protagonist's transformation from a carefree atheist to a believer, the plot details the actor's brush with a wily politician.
However, whenever his fans have been vocal or proactive about his political plunge, the actor has either remained silent or distanced himself away from the topic. Twice his supporters and actors have come out in the open floating some 'party' or 'outfit' in a bid to pressure Rajini, as he is fondly called, to enter politics.
Many political parties, barring AIADMK, had been wooing him. However, he was on good terms with Jayalalithaa in the recent past and had even rued he had 'hurt' her back in 1996 by being critical of her. In his latest comments, Rajinikanth had said he had no desire to joins politics, but if he did, he would show the door to all "money-minded" people.