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Friday, Nov 15, 2019

Former Union Minister invites Rajinikanth to join BJP

The BJP is a marginal player in Tamil Nadu and analysts say it is pursuing the superstar as a desperate attempt to have a popular face.

india Updated: Oct 23, 2019 01:27 IST
MC Rajan
MC Rajan
Hindustan Times, Chennai
The BJP has been wooing veteran actor Rajinikanth for a long time despite the actor .saying he will launch his own political party.
The BJP has been wooing veteran actor Rajinikanth for a long time despite the actor .saying he will launch his own political party. (PTI)
         

Former Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan has invited south Indian superstar Rajinikanth to join the BJP, clearly signalling that the saffron party which is a marginal player in Tamil Nadu, has not given up on wooing the actor.

“I wholeheartedly welcome him into the BJP-fold. He is knowledgeable with a keenness for being bold and honest. Moreover, he remains a superstar and I would be very glad if his embraces the BJP,” Radhakrishnan told the media in Pudukottai on Monday evening.

Even if the actor doesn’t join the saffron party, the BJP seems prepared to keep the options open.

“If Rajinikanth launches his own party it will be good for the state. I will welcome it,” the BJP leader added. This is being seen as an indication of invitation for an alliance if the film star finally floats his party.

The BJP stalwart’s open appeal to Rajinikathn who returned after a spiritual sojourn to the Himalayas, assumes significance as the actor is yet to launch his political party, despite deciding to take the plunge in December 2017. He has already made it clear that his party would contest all the 234 seats in the Tamil nadu assembly elections in 2021.

Rajinikanth has been effusive in his praise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister and BJP national president Amit Shah, even describing them as the legendary Krishna-Arjuna of the Mahaharata. And, the BJP too has been careful enough not to antagonise him, despite his occasional mild criticism. However, the saffron brigade is unsparing when it comes to other actors like Kamal Hassan, president of Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) party, Vijay and Surya.

Rajinikanth’s supporters, while not discounting the possibility of the actor either joining or aligning with the BJP, maintain that the actor would launch his party and contest the elections.

“Rajinikanth is Chief Ministerial material. He has set his priorities correct. He will not disappoint his fans and the public. No doubt, he will launch his party ahead of the 2021 assembly elections,” said Tamilaruvi Manian, a former state Congress general secretary and now a staunch supporter of Rajinikanth.

Despite the hype around the superstar, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president KS Alagiri believes that Rajinikanth will not create any impact in the state’s political firmament.

“Being a spiritual person, politics is not suited for the film star. Whether he joins the BJP or ploughs a lonely furrow with his own party, the actor will not make a mark,” he told reporters.

Analysts too view the BJP pursuing the superstar as a desperate attempt to have a popular face, that too from filmdom.

“It is sheer desperation as the BJP could not produce a successful leader from the saffron ranks. But for the alliance with the AIADMK and the minor parties, the BJP is a non entity in the state. As such, they follow the Dravidian formula of banking on a film hero. Further, Rajini is no MGR who had cultivated a social base through films even while being in the DMK. Probably, the superstar, despite his movie charisma, might lose his mass support by aligning with the BJP,” reasons Aazhi Senthilnathan, a political commentator and publisher.