Actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth on Sunday (17 November) hit back at Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami who had last week mocked at ageing cinema actors nursing political ambitions.
Rajinikanth was speaking at an event in Chennai on Sunday (Nov 17) to celebrate 60 years of his contemporary Kamal Haasan’s journey in the Indian film industry. Rajinikanth copiously praised Kamal Haasan for this sterling contribution to the world of cinema.
Last week, CM Palaniswami launched a frontal attack on both Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth for criticising the performance of the state government.
Taking a jibe at the actor-turned-politician, CM Palaniswami said Kamal Haasan would face the same fate as legendary actor Sivaji Ganesan in politics.
CM Palaniswami was responding to the remarks made by Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan that a leadership vacuum existed in the state.
While acknowledging that any individual has a right to participate in electoral politics in the democratic system, CM Palaniswami derided the tendency of tinsel town heroes taking plunge into politics without a concrete agenda or any record of public service.
The CM pointed out that he toiled as a grassroots politician for over 40 years, participated in various political struggles, contested several elections at various levels from panchayat to parliament, staged several demonstration highlighting issues of public welfare and served as a minister under the leadership of former CM Jayalalithaa who entrusted him with several portfolios.
"Kamal Haasan is a tall leader in politics. Why did his party skip the by-elections in Nanguneri and Vikravandi? How many votes did his party secure in the Loksabha polls? He has become old and his film opportunities have reduced. That is the reason why he started a political party. It’s his democratic right to start a party. There is nothing wrong with it. But he can’t blame others," CM Palaniswami added.
Questioning the credentials of the cine-actors, CM Palaniswami asked "What welfare have the actors done for the people? They continue to act in films and increase their income. They are trying to portray they have huge support amongst the people. Actor Sivaji Ganesan was one of the greatest actors. But we all know what happened when Sivaji Ganesan joined politics and faced elections. Kamal will also face the same fate. Does he know about the needs of the public?"
Taking to the stage in the event, Rajinikanth hit back at the CM reminding of his own meteoric rise from relative obscurity "Miracles are happening all around us. For instance, two years ago, Edappadi Palaniswami could not have imagined becoming the chief minister of Tamil Nadu. When he did, many said his rule may not last for more than a couple of weeks. However, it has been two years now and he is still in power. Miracles have happened yesterday; they continue to happen today and will happen tomorrow as well."
Actor Joseph Vijay's father and noted director S A Chandrasekaran set the tone for the event by requesting Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan to strike alliance for the 2021 elections.
It is widely speculated that Rajinikanth, who has already announced his plans to plunge in to electoral politics, will float his political party by July-August 2020 and fight the state assembly elections in 2021.