Superstar Turns Political Novice

Tamil Nadu superstar Rajnikanth scripts a new role in southern politics 

Published 3 years ago on Jan 02, 2018 Read

After years of speculation and denials, Tamil Nadu saw its oldest superstar, the 68-year-old Rajnikanth, announcing his grand entry into the political arena on the last day of 2017. Addressing fans and media at the Raghavendra Marriage Hall in Kodambakkam, Rajinikanth said he would contest the 2021 assembly election in Tamil Nadu, home to 234 assembly constituencies and the highest number of Lok Sabha seats (39) in the south. While Rajnikanth has unveiled his party symbol, the party’s name is still under wraps. The superstar's mobile application and webpage will allow people to become members of his fans association, which later might turn into a political outfit. In his speech, Rajnikanth spoke of infusing spirituality into politics which has degenerated over the years. Popularly referred to as Thalaiva, Rajnikanth has followed the tradition of TN politics where stars have eventually become political stalwarts. Former chief ministers — the late C N Annadurai, M G Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa besides actors such as Vijayakanth, Sarath Kumar and Khushbu have all forayed into politics. Generally seen as a pro-BJP person, Rajnikanth’s entry comes at a time when TN politics is going through turmoil. The sudden demise of AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa and the subsequent dissent in the party, and the clean chit from the courts to members of the rival DMK in the 2G scam has already thrown political equations topsy-turvy. DMK, an ally of the Congress, could turn into a potential ally for the BJP in the next Lok Sabha elections, while AIADMK is already part of the NDA. Now the entry of Rajnikanth has added a new twist to the political saga. Whether Rajnikanth will indeed be a force to reckon with or just a joker in the pack, will be known only four years from now.