Rajinikanth Might Make 1996-Like Impact In Next Year’s Tamil Nadu Assembly Polls Through His Fans Association Allying With The BJP

Rajinikanth Might Make 1996-Like Impact In Next Year’s Tamil Nadu Assembly Polls Through His Fans Association Allying With The BJPSuperstar Rajinikanth
Snapshot
  • In 1996, Rajinikanth made a stupendous impact on the State Assembly elections with his statement that “even God cannot save Tamil Nadu if Jayalalithaa is voted back to power”.

    Subsequently, the AIADMK was able to win only four of the 234 seats in the Assembly.

The backing out of Tamil film superstar Rajinikanth today (29 December) from plunging into State politics has probably thrown up an opportunity for him to play a role similar to the one he played in the 1996 Tamil Nadu Assembly elections.

Disappointing millions of his followers and those wanting to see the end of the Dravidian parties' rule, the superstar said he would not want to launch his party, as announced earlier this month since he did not want to make those supporting him “sacrificial lambs”.

Swadeshi Jagaran Manch convener and Tamil magazine Thuglaq Editor S Gurumurthy tweeted that Rajinikanth’s decision was “inevitable” but in his assessment, the actor would make a political impact as in 1996.

In 1996, Rajinikanth made a stupendous impact on the State Assembly elections with his statement that "even God cannot save Tamil Nadu if Jayalalithaa is voted back to power”.

He had also put his weight behind the alliance between the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and Tamil Maanila Congress, led by the late G K Moopanar who broke ranks with the Congress to float his own party.

Then, the AIADMK was able to win only a meagre four of the 234 seats in the Assembly.

However, when Jayalalithaa returned to power for the third time in 2011, the Superstar said, "her resounding victory has saved Tamil Nadu".

In 2017, Rajinikanth had declared that he would enter politics ahead of the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections, scheduled in less than four months from now.

Earlier this month, the actor had said that he would announce the launch of his party before 31 December this year and float it next month.

However, he was hospitalised last week for severe fluctuations in his blood pressure at Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad, where he had gone for the shooting of Tamil movie Annanathae.

According to medical experts, Rajinikanth is “immuno compromised” since he had undergone kidney transplantation a few years ago and it would be better if he gives up his plan to join politics.

The superstar said in his statement that since he was consuming immuno suppressant drugs, he was prone to be affected by the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, if he were to be given the vaccine to prevent it.

This, in turn, could affect those who are with him.

A veteran leader of the Dravidian parties agrees with the views of Gurumurthy, who had been trying to impress upon the actor to enter politics, on the Superstar's role in the next year's elections.

According to him, it will likely be through his Rajinikanth Makkal Mandram (RMM) which could possibly form an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Rajinikanth, in his statement expressing his regret in not launching his political party, said he could serve the people without entering electoral politics and he would certainly do it.

There are a few other possibilities that could emerge in view of Rajinikanth’s latest decision.

One, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Tamil Nadu could undergo a split with the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) coming out along with a few others such as the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and Desiya Murpokku Dravidar Kazhagam from their tie-up with the ruling All India Anna DMK (AIADMK).

Then, the alliance will likely be strengthened by the participation of RMM.

“RMM could extend support to the BJP and about 50 of its members could contest the Assembly polls,” said the Dravidian leader.

The current developments with regard to BJP and AIADMK alliance, which fought the Lok Sabha elections as a team last year in Tamil Nadu, are indicative of fissures between them.

The AIADMK has been insisting that the BJP and other NDA allies declare that Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) be the alliance’s chief ministerial candidate.

The Dravidian party has also been maintaining that it is not willing to share power in the State in case it comes back to power in the elections.

Though a couple of BJP leaders have insisted that all is well within the NDA in Tamil Nadu, Tamil Nadu BJP president L Murugan’s meeting with EPS on Monday (28 December) is considered significant.

While Murugan has insisted that the ties between the two parties are strong, he has said his party would decide on power-sharing in a couple of days.

Soon after the meeting, EPS declared that the AIADMK was not ready to share power in the State. These statements are indications of developing fissures in the alliance.

Though senior AIADMK leaders, EPS and deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam, had said the alliance will continue in the Assembly elections when Union Home Minister Amit Shah visited the State last month, the BJP has not made any statement to this effect yet.

According to the Dravidian leader, the AIADMK is not willing to concede the number of seats the BJP is seeking to contest the elections.

Thus, there are possibilities of both parties parting ways.

Also, the leader says that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior BJP leaders listen to Gurumurthy’s suggestions and advice on the State’s politics.

“Gurumurthy doesn’t want the BJP to align with AIADMK. He prefers the BJP to go alone and try to finish second, if possible. He wants the BJP to be in pole position in 2026,” the leader said.

Also, the BJP has been very active politically with some key entrants such as former Karnataka IPS official K Annamalai helping it to reach out to the people as never before.

Thus, Rajinikanth could pitch for his fans' association candidates through electronic and social media in the event of it going along with the BJP.

Also, the Superstar has prepared his fans' association for his political debut and it has been active even at the booth levels, giving it some hold at the grassroots.

Rajinikanth has already caught the attention of the people with his slogan “Let’s change everything. It’s now or never” to end the reign of the Dravidian parties.

He could also be batting strongly for “spiritual politics” through RMM and its possible alliance with the BJP.

With Rajinikanth now deciding to keep off politics, for now, the DMK could fancy its chances of regaining power, taking advantage of the likely anti-incumbency factor against the 10-year AIADMK rule.

M.R. Subramani is Executive Editor, Swarajya. He tweets @mrsubramani

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