BJP circles are working on a plan to get Union Home Minister and senior BJP leader Amit Shah to meet actor Rajinikanth during his Chennai visit on November 21, and convince the latter to launch a new party in time for the 2021 Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu.
BJP’s Plan A was to induct Rajinikanth into the party and make him its chief ministerial candidate in Tamil Nadu. The gains for the party in such an eventuality would be huge, not just in Tamil Nadu, but elsewhere in the south too, especially Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana where the superstar has a large following. However, the plan failed to take off as Rajinikanth expressed his reluctance to join the saffron party, particularly after the drubbing the BJP and its allies including the ruling AIADMK suffered in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls when the DMK-led alliance won 38 of the 39 seats in the state.
The BJP then moved to Plan B. Under it Rajinikanth would have his own party pursuing its individual agenda and brand of politics but entering into an electoral pact with the BJP and its allies. Here too, the BJP had assured Rajnikanth that he would be the front’s chief ministerial candidate. However, this plan too hit a roadblock as the actor reportedly conveyed to go-betweens that even if he were to enter politics, he would not have a tie-up with the BJP in the state.
The BJP has now embarked on Plan C where Rajinikanth would be persuaded to launch his own party and function on his own without any alliance with the saffron party or the AIADMK. The idea is that Rajinikanth’s party would cut into anti-AIADMK votes which would otherwise go fully to the DMK. A split in anti-AIADMK votes could prevent the DMK-led front from repeating its performance in the Lok Sabha elections. The BJP would then hope for a hung Assembly in which case the ruling parties at the Centre and the state, with help from the PMO and the Raj Bhavan, would pull strings to keep the DMK out of power on the lines of similar action in a few other states in the last two years.
The saffron party was worried when Rajinikanth, in view of his poor health and due to the prevalence of the COVID-19 pandemic, recently announced to indefinitely put off plans to launch his own political party. RSS ideologue and Rajinikanth’s close friend, auditor Gurumurthy undertook a mission to convince the actor that he need not take too many risks in his campaign, and that digital technology could be used to take his message to all parts of the state.
Now, Amit Shah is expected to follow up on this initiative and would come up with various offers in this regard, including an assurance and ‘invitation’ from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
While Rajinikanth has not yet confirmed an appointment, BJP sources are hopeful that he would agree to meet Shah, if the latter expresses his keenness to meet the actor.
Rajinikanth fans, who were left disappointed over the actor’s recent announcement to postpone the launch of his party, are still hopeful that he would take the plunge in December, leaving him at least four months to campaign.
The BJP looks forward to a positive outcome as Rajinikanth in his last address to fans said he was keen on pursuing ‘spiritual politics,’ which the BJP and the RSS believe is just one step away from their Hindutva agenda. Rajinikanth, however, is said to be wary of any tie-up with the BJP given the mood created by the DMK-led front in the state against the national party.