The Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi on Sunday called on Tamil superstar Rajinikanth at his residence in Chennai, setting off speculation, but the actor termed it as a courtesy call and said no political significance should be attached to it.
Rajinikanth said he was a "well-wisher" of Modi and wished him "all the best" while Modi described the superstar as a "good friend".
"This is not a political meeting. When Modiji visited me when I was hospitalised, I had invited him to have a cup of tea with me whenever he came to Chennai. So he has come now," Rajinikanth told reporters outside his Poes Garden residence.
Answering questions by media persons in the company of Modi, Rajinikanth, dressed in starched white shirt and dhoti, said, "I am happy he is here."
Shaking hands and then hugging each other in front of the huge gathering of his fans, who had thronged his residence to get a glimpse of their superstar, Rajinikanth said, "He is my well-wisher and I'm his well-wisher."
Modi's meeting with Rajinikanth ahead of April 24 Lok Sabha polls in Tamil Nadu where BJP has stitched an alliance of six parties fuelled speculation that the saffron party leader was likely to seek the superstar's support. Rajinikanth has been maintaining steadfastly his apolitical stand.
However, the actor, who has a vast fan following, wished Modi "all the best!" Quickly responding, Modi, dressed in a saffron shirt and dhoti, said, "I wished him on the eve of Tamil New Year. He is a good friend."
Modi, who arrived at the airport, drove straight to Rajinikanth's residence where the meeting lasted briefly and pleasantries were exchanged.
He later received a roaring response at a rally in Chennai on Sunday. And if the response is anything to go by, the two Dravidian parties — AIADMK and the DMK — may have much to worry about in the future.
Every time Modi attacked the Congress or the two Dravidian parties for doing nothing for the people, he was greeted with a thunderous applause.
"When one party comes to power, the other gets busy to unseat it. People are left to their own fate as both the parties are not bothered for their welfare. But there will be a new future in Tamil Nadu," Modi said expressing happiness over the emergence of a third force in Tamil Nadu politics - an alliance led by the BJP.
Turning his attention to his immediate job on hand, Modi asked the people to vote out against the Congress. "This government has to go and a new one has to take charge. This is an election of hope," the Gujarat chief minister said.
He promised that the BJP-led government would make development based on the location of the state; coastal states would have port-based development model.
Taking a dig on Rahul Gandhi, Modi said, "For him, huts are tourism destinations for poverty. He will take photos visiting them. This government considers poor as tourist attraction," Modi said.