Is Rajinikanth Planning To Join BJP? Here’s Why Some Feel He Might Prefer The National Party
In view of his health and other compulsions, Rajinikanth might be inclined to back Prime Minister Modi and the BJP instead of launching his own party.
The statement came at a crucial time when he was expected to make a political entry in the state, probably by launching his own party ahead of Tamil Nadu Assembly elections due in May next year.
The Tamil film star said that a statement reportedly attributed to him was doing rounds on social media was not put out by him. However, Rajinikanth said the contents in it with regard to his health and doctors' advice were true.
“I will discuss this at the right time with the Rajini Makkal Mandram (Rajini People’s Forum) executives and will make public my political stand,” he said. The Rajini People’s Forum is comprised of the actor’s fans.
While political circles were abuzz on what point Rajinikanth was trying to drive home, a few observers say that there is no doubt over his political entry.
“This statement is trying to find the depth of the current political situation in the state. He first wants his critics to exhaust themselves before he makes his next move,” said a source close to Rajinikanth.
“He will definitely make a political entry. We cannot reveal more than this,” said the source, not wishing to be identified.
But indications from forum sources indicate that probably, Rajinikanth is preparing the ground to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The sources justify the decision on various developments that have taken place with regard to the actor featuring in films like Kabali and Kala, and also the BJP, which has made L Murugan, who belongs to the Scheduled Castes, its state president.
“The Scheduled Castes make up 21 per cent of the state’s population. Till this day, they have never made it big in state politics. They have not even got any major portfolio either in the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) or All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam governments since 1967,” a forum activist from a rural area in Tamil Nadu pointed out.
By making Murugan the party chief in the state, the BJP had signalled its intention to empower the downtrodden sections of the society.
“You know, Murugan is seen more as a Hindu party leader than being known by his caste. This is a huge change given the fact that someone is viewed for his/her capability than caste,” a BJP leader, who did not wish to be identified, said.
Forum activists equate this development with Rajinikanth portraying himself as a leader of the downtrodden section in his recent Kabali and Kala movies.
“Rajinikanth chose a different path and subject when others were making films on other communities of Other Backward Classes, who have been enjoying all the benefits in the state since 1967. The Scheduled Castes have got little in terms of power or development from these Dravidian parties,” the rural area forum activist said.
The other issue is his poor health, and which is crucial in view of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“He has undergone a kidney transplant and faced problems due to it in 2016. As a result, he had to undergo treatment in the United States. Now, running a party is not easy and probably that is the point Rajinikanth is trying to drive home,” the forum activist said.
Running a party will tell not just on the actor’s health, it will stretch him financially too. The issue is getting funds to run the daily affairs of his party.
“Rajinikanth will require a minimum of Rs 150 crore to launch a party and run it. He won’t be able to start any party,” a DMK think-tank leader had said a few years ago.
Second, if Rajinikanth enters politics by launching a party, he will be under attack from both the DMK and AIADMK.
“He will be targeted on all sides and his properties in various parts of the state are at stake,” a political observer said.
Thus, Rajinikanth will not only have to ensure good health and find funds but also protect his own welfare. These have probably pushed the actor to narrow down his options in making a political debut.
Forum activists point out the developments in BJP, of late. The national party has been trying to hog the limelight on various issues besides trying to consolidate the Hindu vote bank.
“Do you think recent entrants into BJP such as retired Indian Police Service (IPS) official K Annamalai and Kushboo Sundar, Rajinikanth’s co-star in many films, would not have consulted the actor before joining the national party?” the forum activist wondered.
His arguments are based on the fact that Annamalai had been in touch with Rajinikanth much before he joined BJP.
At one point of time, he was even rumoured to be the actor’s choice for chief ministership if his yet-to-be-launched party wins the assembly elections that are due in six months time.
Even Kushboo was reportedly waiting for Rajinikanth to launch his party before entering BJP and making her impact.
"When Kushbhoo joined BJP, I thought she would not have joined it without consulting Rajinikanth. He could have encouraged her to join the national party," said a veteran Dravidian leader on condition of anonymity.
A BJP leader, however, said that the central leadership of the party had zeroed in on Annamalai long before the Karnataka IPS official could get in touch with Rajinikanth.
Rajini People Forum activists concede that relations between Rajinikanth and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are excellent.
In view of his health and other compulsions, he might be inclined to back Prime Minister Modi and the BJP instead of launching his own party.
“The reasons on health grounds are good enough for Rajinikanth to join the BJP. Probably, he wants to prepare our forum for the eventuality. It will also help him to keep his commitment to getting rid of corruption in the state,” said the rural forum activist.
Rajinikanth thinks three months ahead of the elections to the Tamil Nadu Assembly are enough to make an impact in the state’s politics and probably, he is preparing for such an eventuality.
BJP sources, however, are keeping their fingers crossed. “For us, his message is that he is not ruling out entering politics,” said the BJP leader.
What could further help the Tamil film superstar to make up his mind in favour of BJP is that it is mulling to go it alone in the elections.
"BJP offers Rajinikanth both safety and security. It might be a sensible move if his intentions are such since starting and running a party is a tough task," said the veteran Dravidian leader.
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