Can Thalaivar encash his fan base?
After decades of speculation, Rajinikanth announced on New Year’s Eve that he was finally going to enter politics. Addressing thousands of fans in Chennai, the superstar — considered a demi-god or superhuman by many of his admirers — declared that he would form a political party and contest the state Assembly elections. About the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, he said he would take a call later. Rajini later told journalists: “I, too, want to create a political revolution. If there is a change now, future generations will live better.” Those speculating about whether Rajini’s political foray would be a dud, can take a break for now: A website launched by him on January 1 garnered millions of hits within hours and at least 300,000 registrations.
Rajini, of course, has been an influence to reckon with in Tamil politics since the mid-1990s. In 1996, he extended vocal support to the coalition of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC), helping them — according to some political pundits — win the Assembly elections. Notably, the TMC had used a bicycle as their political symbols and many of their posters had the iconic picture of Rajini on a cycle from his 1992 blockbuster Annamalai. His fans have only been too eager to see him enter the political arena and work his magic; some of them even started a political party in 2006, in a bid him take the plunge. Rajini had then desisted.
Of course, in south India, especially Tamil Nadu, cinema and politics have been twined since Independence. MGR, NTR, Jayalalithaa have all served as chief ministers and played a major part even in national politics. Rajini’s entry follows this tradition, where superstars and political leaders are given a larger-than-life status by their fans and supporters. While informing his fans about his intention to enter politics, Rajini reiterated the rhetoric of cleaning up the political landscape that is more than familiar to all of us now. “There is need for a political change,” he said. “In the name of democracy, political parties… are looting people.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, too, had promised similar clean-up acts before coming to power.
Read more about : Rajnikanth in politics