Tamil superstar Rajinikanth, who has been widely expected to take a political plunge ahead of the 2021 Tamil Nadu elections, laid out the ideological contours of his outfit Rajini Makkal Mandram (RMM). In a press conference, he said he “will be a bridge to bring in new blood in politics, and send people to the Assembly”. “As of now only those above the age of 50 or 60 get chances in political parties. But, in my party, I will give opportunities to people who are educated and below the age of 50, as also retired bureaucrats and reputed names from other parties who want to join me,” he said. But, he also hinted that he may never contest an election. “My blood does not have the traits of a chief minister and I cant imagine myself sitting in assembly and talking. I am not cut out for these posts,” he said.
“We need a good leader. A good leader is someone who creates leaders. It is selflessness that drives me. I want a movement and a wave to come up. I believe there will be a wave to fill the leadership wave created by the death of Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi,” he said. I have decided to be the party head, Rajinikanth said. “My proposal includes appointing as chief minister an educated and compassionate youngster,” he said.
“We will have to change the mindset of the people. A big political revolution has to happen. I can’t come into politics just for 8 or 10 per cent votes. If I lose now, i can’t take a next chance. I am already 71,” he said.
Over the last week, he has held meetings with several political party representatives, his well-wishers and political observers in the state after he announced his unwillingness to be the chief minister, if elected. He reiterated the same statement in the press conference: “I don’t want to be chief minister. My RMM district secretaries were disturbed when I said I don’t want to be the CM.” When he first announced his new outfit on December 31, 2017, this was not what was expected. After a five-day interaction with his fans, the Kaala star said he would float his political outfit RMM and contest from all 234 assembly constituencies. Years after the announcment though, the party had never gotten past the incubation stage.
Since March 5, after he held the second round of meeting with RMM’s district functionaries, political circles in Tamil Nadu have been abuzz with discussions about his political entry. Though he wants to head the outfit, he does not want to personally contest elections or become the chief minister. Since there was a huge opposition to Rajinikanth’s view of not leading the government, the superstar told the media that he was “personally disturbed with one thing” during the meetings with RMM officials. “I will tell what that one thing is when times comes,” he had said. Though there were expectations for Rajinikanth to take an active political plunge since 1996, the stakes have gone high in the last two years. He had said: “There is a political vacuum in Tamil Nadu created after Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi. I will fill the leadership vacuum.”
Tamil Nadu Assembly elections will be held next in 2021. Then, Rajinikanth had said the people of Tamil Nadu will create a “wonder and marvel” in the state. “In 2021, people of Tamil Nadu will 100 per cent create a big wonder and marvel in politics,” he said in an apparent reference to the polls scheduled then and possibly about him coming to play a major role then. This again sparked more speculations. He had expressed his willingness to join hands with his contemporary and Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan politically, and the actor also said matters relating to alliance and who will be the chief minister in such a case will be decided during the polls.
Published on TheWeek dated March 12 , 2020.