Actor Rajinikanth’s announcement of his entry into politics has made waves during the end of this year and throwing all political parties into a tizzy. Political entry of actors is not new to Tamil Nadu, as MG Ramachandran, popularly known as MGR, had paved way to become the Chief Minister and his protégé Jayalalithaa followed MGR’s death to hold the reins of the state. Both however had their internships and handholding by their mentors. Karunanidhi the former CM too, is a scriptwriter and a director, having close connections to the celluloid industry.
Vijaykanth (MDMK), Napolean (DMK), Kushboo and Nagma (Congress) and lately Kamal Haasan have entered the political arena. A few others like actor Vijay periodically toy with the idea to enter politics, but the fear of losing the stardom has kept away their plans.
Rajini’s political plunge, as announced is not new. He has been nurturing the ambition for nearly two decades, vacillating for long. Probable repercussions from an angry Jayalalithaa has been an impediment in his taking the plunge, as also his need to continue to act, particularly after one or two much hyped films bit the dust and the actor had to shell out lot of money to his financiers and distributors.
Modi has bet on Rajini and has met him a few times, raising the spectre of hope to his millions of die-hard fans of Tamil Nadu, where he is a cult figure. Raini has supported BJP and its alliances earlier, but is shrewd, never to take a direct plunge and keeping his hopeful fans of a future entry saying, ‘he will enter politics as and when god would command him to do so.’
Jayalalithaa’s sudden demise has thrown up a void, the leadership of her AIADMK decimated by an infighting between warring factions. DMK too, despite the crowd pull in the meetings suffer from the image of the most corrupt of all the parties in TN. The recent electoral losses have intensified the fight between M.K. Azagiri and Stalin the siblings of the ailing nonagenarian party patriarch Karunanidhi. The rest, Congress, PMK, MDMK, the left and BJP have no significant support in the assembly, making this the ideal time with least risk for taking a political plunge.
Rajini is a Kannadiga and the relations between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu is at Nadir on Cauvery water sharing, which often erupts into skirmishes in both the states. But the fiercely patriotic Dravida Tamils have had MGR as the CM, who was a Malayalee. His Kannadiga label may not be much relevant, unless his party takes on any leaders of the Dravida clan.
Rajini’s fan are euphoric. Their god has consented to lead, to erase corruption from the face of Tamil Nadu, to provide a clean administration. Utopian indeed, considering the present difficult and challenging scenario! But nothing Raini does, could be worse than whatever situation in the state is at present. He is sure to cut into the Dravida partys’ votes and the net beneficiary would be BJP, which is looking for a ladder to climb the walls to reach to get a foothold, south of Vindhyas. Rajini could provide just that.
With Modi solidly backing Rajini, he could be rewriting the political future of Tamil Nadu.