Is Rajini testing waters by indirectly propping Kamal for CM role?
The actor recently announced that he has been advised by doctors not to pursue politics due to his poor health. Photo: PTI

Is Rajini testing waters by indirectly propping Kamal for CM role?

Is film actor Rajinikanth testing the waters by indirectly projecting Kamal Haasan as the chief ministerial candidate of his front?

This is the question uppermost in the minds of political parties and observers as Rajini appears to be reluctant to join the race for chief ministership while limiting his role to party chief.

The Rajini statement is bound to come as a dampener to his fans and well-wishers who expected him to announce today the final steps for launch of his party ahead of the 2021 Assembly elections. His indication to district secretaries last Thursday (March 5) that he may not be a CM candidate had already come as a shock to the inner circle of his party.

Related news: Rajinikanth keeps his political party act open-ended yet again

Today’s announcement is bound to create confusion among the rank and file of his party at a time when he is already seen as dragging his feet on launching his new party.

As Rajini himself put it, if he wanted to be CM, he could have made the move in 1996, when senior Congress leader G.K. Moopanar offered Congress support to Rajini. However, even after meeting the then PM P.V. Narasimha Rao, Rajini backed out.

It appears that Rajini has developed cold feet after seeing the lukewarm response to the membership drive of his district secretaries. Some units are yet to complete the exercise, while he is not happy with the overall performance in a few other districts. In this situation, Rajini feels that he may not be able to make a dramatic and telling impact on the 2021 Assembly elections. Rather than be an also-ran, Rajini may have to look at other options.

A 10 to 15 per cent vote bank would be an impressive beginning for any new party. However, it would come as a disappointment to his fans, since Rajini was not getting younger. With health problems on one side, film commitments on the other, and rising doubts about the effectiveness of his campaign for the elections, Rajini is perhaps leaving the final decision on launching his party to a more opportune moment.

His critics are bound to lash out at him for another bout of indecisiveness. Parties like the AIDMK and the DMK, which were worried by the impact of the Rajini party, particularly on young voters and young party workers, may feel relieved, and will take pot-shots at Rajni, stating that ‘we told you so. He is not a serious politician.’

One party which is really worried over Rajini’s reluctance to take the plunge into active politics is the BJP. It was felt that Rajini would at least have an alliance with the BJP, and this could help their front take a major step forward in the attempt to capture power in 2021.

Related news: Rajinikanth swings back to centrist mode with his Ulama Sabai meet

It is with mixed feelings that the functionaries of Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiyam (MNM) will look at the latest development. They were eagerly looking forward to a tie-up between the two parties, which would have a snowballing effect in the State where star-power has always had certain advantages. On the other hand, if Rajini indicates he is willing to take a step back and project Kamal as his CM candidate, it could clear the way for a smooth and positive relationship between the two parties.

Is Rajini sending out signals to his fans and to the electorate on Kamal Haasan as a CM candidate who can provide a credible alternative to the AIADMK and the DMK, while remaining party chief? Based on the feedback, he could take a final decision.

Related news: Ready to play any role to maintain peace in country: Rajinikanth

Rajinikanth has yet again proved that it is always a case of one step forward and two steps back when it comes to his political entry.

(The writer is a senior journalist based in Chennai)

(The Federal seeks to present views and opinions from all sides of the spectrum. The information, ideas or opinions in the articles are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Federal)

Read More
Next Story