Matinee idol Rajinikanth on Thursday (December 3) said that he would announce his political party on December 31 and launch it in January.
The actor made the announcement a day after he met senior office-bearers of his forum, the Rajini Makkal Mandram. Later on Wednesday, he said he will announce his decision soon on his plans for electoral politics.
“District office-bearers expressed their opinions. They have said they will agree to whatever decision I take. I will announce my decision as soon as possible,” the 69-year-old told the media outside his Poes Garden residence in Chennai.
“If not now, never. I will not retract my words. I am ready to give up my life to the Tamil people. We should change, change everything. If I win, it is the people’s win and if I lose, it is the people’s loss,” he said
Stressing that a political change is necessary in Tamil Nadu, the actor exuded confidence that he will win the elections.
“The time has come to change the fate of Tamil Nadu,” he said.
He also appointed Gandhiya Makkal Iyakkam’s former leader Tamilaruvi Manian as his party’s supervisor and Arjun Murthy as chief coordinator for the political party.
Last month, the actor had hinted that his long-awaited entry to electoral politics may be delayed. A letter attributed to him cited doctors’ concern over campaigning during the pandemic and the impact on Rajinikanth’s health. The letter seemed to indicate the actor had been advised to restrict travel since he has a kidney condition and could be vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus.
Elections are due for the 234-member Tamil Nadu Assembly in April-May 2021.
In recent months, Rajinikanth has amplified the BJP’s thinking on major national issues such as the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act, which introduces a religion element into India’s citizenship law. Besides, the actor has not been hesitant about expressing his admiration for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
The BJP has been throwing its weight behind the actor whenever he comes under attack from Dravidian and Tamil nationalist groups.
When he announced his decision to enter politics, it was clear that Rajinikanth would face opposition from two significant ideological groups. The first are the extreme Tamil nationalists led by the Naam Tamizhar Katchi’s Senthamizhan Seeman. They look at Rajinikanth as an outsider since he is a Maharashtrian who lived in Bengaluru before moving to Chennai. Given their position that only a true Tamil should become chief minister, he was automatically seen as a political opponent.
But though the Naam Tamizhar Katchi’s vote share has slowly grown over the last decade, it is yet to achieve major success in electoral politics.
Rajinikanth’s most intense political battle in the 2021 elections is actually likely to be with the Dravidian parties that have ruled the state since 1967.