Tamil film superstar Rajinikanth has said that he is entering politics in Tamil Nadu to fill the void caused by the death of former All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leader J Jayalalithaa and the ill-health of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader M Karunanidhi.
Unveiling the statue of AIADMK founder M G Ramachandran (MGR) at the MGR Educational Research Institute in Chennai, Rajinikanth said that he was confident of providing an administration in MGR style.
Stating that a leadership vacuum exists in Tamil Nadu, the actor, who is set to launch his political party soon, said that “nobody can match MGR in the next 1,000 years” including him and the path of politics is not deck of flowers but one filled with thorns.
“I know political journey is not easy. It is a journey through struggles and hurdles. I learnt a lot about politics because of my closeness with Karunanidhi and the late Congress leader G K Moopanar. Politics is a path strewn with snakes, thorns and difficulties. I have also benefitted from my interaction with the late Tughlaq editor Cho S Ramaswamy,” he said at the function that had an massive gathering.
Providing a brief view into his thinking, Rajinikanth said that he would use technology and the assistance of experts to provide good governance. In a speech that lasted over 30 minutes, the matinee idol also explained his concept of “spiritual politics” for the first time.
“Spiritual politics means no one will be discriminated on the basis of caste. It will be honest, true and clean. It is a belief that all life is equal. Believing god is spiritual politics,” he said, adding that he was confident of providing a governance like MGR that would benefit the poor and common man.
Acknowledging that Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi were great leaders, Rajnikanth criticised the current AIADMK leadership saying those in power were not performing their duties properly. He wondered why the current AIADMK government was opposed to people from the tinsel world joining politics. “I don’t expect my opponents to lay out a red carpet for me. But why do you want to block me?” he asked.
Rajinikanth said he was not afraid of taking on anyone and reminded how he had given his voice against Jayalalithaa in 1996 with his comment “even god cannot save Tamil Nadu”.
“I am coming to politics because there is a vacancy for leadership and good governance. Earlier, Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa were there. They were cult leaders. Their decisions cannot be questioned. Tamil Nadu needs such leaders. That space is vacant. I am trying to fill it. I have god by my side,” he said in an apparent response to questions being raised on the timing of his entry into politics.
Advice To Students
He also had a word of advice for the students. He asked them to focus on studies. “Understand politics,” he told students but don’t involve yourself in politics when you are students. Even if I start a party, don’t join it as a student,” he said.
On 31 December 2017, Rajnikanth said he had decided to enter politics and would soon launch a party. He said his party would contest from all the 234 constituencies in Tamil Nadu in the next assembly elections. His indication was that his party wouldn’t be interested in the long overdue local civic bodies elections or even Parliament.
After the passing away of Jayalalithaa and with Karunanidhi becoming inactive in politics due to failing health, Tamil Nadu is witnessing strategic moves by two leading film actors – one by Rajinikanth and the other by Kamal Haasan. The latter has floated his party Makkal Needhi Maiam (People’s Justice Party). Kamal Haasan has declared that he will follow the path of Dravidian parties and has been courting the left parties too in this regard.
Tamil Nadu Politics In A Flux
Tamil Nadu’s politics is in a flux with AIADMK being split in two camps and the DMK unable to take advantage of AIADMK’s split. AIADMK has two camps now. One camp is headed by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) and Finance Minister O Panneerselvam (OPS). The other is run by T T V Dinakaran, who had wanted to replace Palaniswami as the chief minster early in 2017 after his aunt and Jayalalithaa’s trusted aide Sasikala was imprisoned in a case, where she was found to have assets disproportionate to her known source of income along with Jayalalithaa.
At least 18 members of the legislative assembly have cast their lot with T T V Dinakaran. All of them have been expelled but they have now approached the Madras High Court against the move. Separately, DMK working president M K Stalin has filed another petition in the Madras High Court seeking disqualification of OPS and nine other legislators for voting against a confidence motion moved by EPS in February 2017. (Both were in separate camps then). The court is hearing all petitions together and has ordered that floor test be taken in the assembly to prove the government’s strength until it gives the ruling in these cases.
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