A Remarkable Journey from Film Stardom to Political Landscape
Vijayakanth did what neither Rajinikanth nor Kamal Hassan could do - launch a political party in Tamil Nadu and score a credible number of seats.
In fact Vijayakanth's party did so well in its first election that Jayalalithaa gave his party 40 seats as part of her big coalition in the next hustings. We're talking about a time when both the giants of Tamil Nadu politics were alive. Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa usually did not tolerate a leadership challenge and did their best to keep others down.
Even in naming his party Vijayakanth cocked a snook at his main rivals - the DMK and ADMK. He suffixed "Desiya" to his party's name to buttress his nationalist credentials.
But the most interesting thing about Vijayakanth's political career was his film industry colleagues' reaction to his political innings. Despite being beneficiaries of his largesse his own colleagues kept quiet rather than back a man of courage.
Just goes on to show what a fighter the man was - to stand up to the state's largest and dominant political forces, to run a political party and make his mark in the system.
My colleague Balakumar explains this aspect of Vijayakanth's life and more here in his obit.
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