Tamil film superstar Rajinikanth today (12 March) made it clear that his objective to enter politics is to cleanse the prevalent political system in Tamil Nadu rather than enjoy power or become the chief minister.
Addressing the media to provide details on his meeting with district secretaries of his fan clubs on 8 March, he said that assuming power without cleaning the system is like “cooking sweet Pongal (a rice delicacy) in the vessel in which a fish curry has been prepared”.
He, however, issued a caveat. “If you want me to become the chief minister, create an uprising in every nook and corner of the state,” the actor said.
Rajinikanth also sent a clear warning to the people that if they cannot change the system (keep the Dravidian parties out of power) now, then they cannot expect it in future.
Vacuum In State Politics
The actor made it amply clear that he sees a god-sent opportunity for a change in Tamil Nadu politics. “The people have to usher in a revolution of government change. They have to change the administration (in 2021 assembly elections) for the sake of their future generations. What is the use of me entering politics without knowing that I can’t change politics?” he wondered.
In particular, the Tamil film superstar acknowledged the fact that he and his proposed political party face the dual challenge of “the giant strength of the two big parties (DMK and AIADMK) besides their huge money power”.
Stating that there was a vacuum in the state politics after the death of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) supremo J Jayalalithaa and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) founder M Karunanidhi, he said if 30 per cent of the people voted for their respective parties, the rest 70 per cent voted for their charisma.
Won’t Be A Candidate For Chief Minister
Rajinikanth said his party would be a new force that will face the numerous challenges before it. On a personal note, he said he was not interested in becoming the chief minister as he was already 71 and has got “a new lease of life. There are so many patches in my body.”
“I am 71 now. When the next elections come (2026), I will be 77. If I can’t make any change now, how can I expect to make a change then?" he asked. The actor refused to take any questions from the media, saying that any response would dilute the message that he was trying to send across with the address that he had made.
“I have never even thought of becoming the chief minister even in my dreams. The people of Tamil Nadu know it since 1996. I will provide strong party leadership. And I will make a self-believing, efficient, honest and self-respecting youth (it could be a woman too) the chief minister. He/she will not be a puppet,” the actor said.
He also wondered why people are worried when he spells out his political policies and principles. “They are asking why I am talking about these now. There has to be transparency of such things (policies),” he said.
Criticising The Party Functionaries Ecosystem
Elaborating on cleansing the system, Rajinikanth said that in the major parties in Tamil Nadu there are at least 50,000 posts starting from the capital to the grassroots level.
“On average, if we assume that 50 persons among a leader’s family, friends and relatives are trying to take advantage of his/her position, there is a compulsion to satisfy at least 25 lakh persons. It is in view of this that corruption takes place on a large scale,” he said.
Admitting that these leaders help a party to get the votes during elections, the Tamil film superstar said that after the polls, the government and people face a lot of hardship because of them.
In view of this, Rajinikanth said that his first plan was that his party would have only necessary posts after elections while doing away with the rest.
Attracting Talent To The Party
Rajinikanth said his second plan was to attract good and educated youth to politics. “They (the youth) should not consider politics as gutter and keep aloof. They should come forward to take part in politics and they should be given the opportunities,” he said.
Pointing out that if a youth has to shine in politics, he/she has to be the family member of a Member of Parliament or legislative assembly or a businessman or an industrialist, the actor said he would give 60-65 per cent of the total seats at stake to the youth.
These youth would be educated, doing honest business, and have earned a good name in the locality they live, he said and added that good and retired IAS officials, IPS officials, and judges who join his party on their own would contest from the rest 30-35 per cent seats.
Rajinikanth said he would function as a bridge to send these people to the legislative assembly and hoped to cash in on his celluloid image, popularity and the love the people of the state have showered on him.
Different Heads For Government And Party
Rajinikanth made it clear that the heads of the party and government have to be separate.
“People in Tamil Nadu have always seen the party chief heading the government. They have got used to it. I feel that this needs to be changed to bring in an alternative narration to politics,” he said.
When one person was the party chief and also the state chief minister, people could not question the government or the party or its representatives.
“A party’s leadership can question the wrongs of a government only when it is strong. It can even replace the persons heading the government. It is for this that different persons should hold the party chief post and chief minister post,” he explained.
He also took a dig at the current Dravidian parties’ practice of ministers taking part in family functions of party workers.
“A different structure in party and government will ensure that ministers will be fully focussed on governance,” he added.
In 1996, Rajinikanth said that Tamil Nadu cannot be rescued if the late Jayalalithaa returned to power.
However in 2011, he said that she was the one who could rescue the state. In 1996, Jayalalithaa was booted out, while in 2011 she regained power.
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