Veteran actor Rajinikanth on Monday dissolved his quasi-political outfit, Rajini Makkal Mandram, and reduced it to its earlier status of a fan club, shutting the door even firmly on his political ambitions.
The actor put out a press release after a meeting with important functionaries of the Madram. Heading off to the meeting after returning from the US, the 70-year-old fired up speculation by saying he might consider entering the arena, an about-turn from his earlier stand of exiting the field.
Rajinikanth, who disappointed several fans in 2020 by announcing he would stay away from politics, on Monday reignited the political potboiler in Tamil Nadu by saying he would “reconsider” his decision.
In his press meet on Monday, Rajinikanth said it’s been a while since he met the members of the Rajini Makkal Mandram. With the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, his filmmaking schedules and the trip to the US, Rajinikanth had not been keeping in touch with supporters. He said he would meet them all, and discuss the future of the Makkal Mandram, and whether “he would enter politics in the future..”
Rajinikanth had been in the US for medical examinations, following schedules of the upcoming movie Annathe (elder brother).
In a U-turn, Rajinikanth had on December 29, 2020, announced he will not take the political plunge and launch a party as declared earlier. However, Rajinikanth’s associate and Gandhiya Makkal Iyakkam founder Tamilaruvi Manian said that the actor didn’t say he would never enter politics, he said he would not jump into poll fray now and that he has also not disbanded the Rajini Makkal Mandram (RMM).
“If tomorrow Rajinikanth says he is entering politics, Gandhiya Makkal Iyakkam will associate itself with him on his journey. If Rajinikanth does not enter politics also, it will continue to function as a sister organization," Manian had said.
Scores of fans of the superstar had staged protests, demanding the veteran actor take the political plunge. Raising slogans such as “Vaa Thalaiva Vaa" (Come leader come), they urged him to embark on his political journey and usher in a new era in Tamil Nadu politics.
The Rajini Makkal Mandram (RMM), initially seen as a precursor organisation of the veteran’s possible political party, had earlier asked its members and the actor’s fans not to join the agitation and “further hurt" him, pointing out that he had decided against joining politics citing his frail health.
The megastar had then requested his fans not to pressure him to join politics. “I praise and thank those members of the mandram for not participating in the protest. But I am sad and worried about those who participated in the protest despite me explaining that I will not enter politics last month," said Rajinikanth.
The actor said the members of the fan club were inflicting pain on him by asking him to join politics. “I have already explained in details the reasons for not entering politics. At least after this no one must keep pressurising me to enter politics. No one must protest like this as it will inflict more pain to me," said the actor.
The actor’s latest statement has fired up speculation among his fans and plunged political observers into conundrum. Most observers who were, during his earlier flip-flops, either gung-ho or dismissive about Rajinikanth as a politician are now downright non-committal to make a comment. “Such reversal in decisions would only erase the trust among the people…” said a political commentator.