Chennai: Superstar Rajinikanth appeared to open the door to politics on Monday as he met fans at a meet-and-greet that he held after eight years. There has been speculation for years on whether one of the most popular actors of Indian cinema will enter active politics.
Dressed in a black kurta, Rajnikanth told 700 fans at Chennai’s Raghavendra Wedding Hall that he has no political aspirations, but will consider it “if it is God’s will.”
“God decides what we have to do in life. Right now, he wants me to be an actor and I’m fulfilling my responsibility. If God wills it, I will enter politics tomorrow,” he said, assuring his fans that, “If I enter politics, I will be very truthful and will not work with people who are in this to make money.”
The 66-year-old star described his brief dalliance with politics two decades ago as “political accident”. He had, in 1996, supported a DMK-led alliance in the Tamil Nadu assembly elections, campaigning against former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and her AIADMK.
“If Jayalalithaa is voted back to power, even God cannot save Tamil Nadu,” the superstar had famously said about his neighbour in Chennai’s posh Poes Garden. The DMK’s alliance had swept the election and the actor’s comments were seen to have contributed heavily to Ms Jayalalithaa’s big loss.
At a condolence meeting after Ms Jayalalithaa’s death last December, the actor rued that he had hurt her, describing her as a “diamond.””I made a mistake by supporting a political alliance 21 years ago. It was a political accident. Since then, politicians have misused my name on several occasions. But I have to clarify, I’m not joining any party,” Rajinikanth said today.
There has been speculation since earlier this year that the superstar could float a new party backed by the BJP, which is seeking to deepen its footprint in Tamil Nadu ahead of the 2019 national election and sees the opportunity to fill the void left by Ms Jayalalithaa amid a bitter power struggle in her party after her death.
In 2014, Ms Jayalalithaa swept the state winning 37 of the state’s 39 parliament seats. The BJP had won one and its ally, the PMK, another. Ms Jayalalithaa had also won an unprecedented second straight term as Chief Minister in assembly elections early last year.
Rajinikath’s meeting with fans has generated a buzz and at least 5,000 are expected to get an opportunity to take photographs with him over the next four days. Rajini fan clubs are sharing photos of the event on social media.