Rajinikanth celebrates birthday, leaders, celebs extend wishes
Actor Rajinikanth turned 70 on Saturday, receiving wishes from leaders cutting across political lines including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader MK Stalin and a host of celebrities from the film fraternity, industrialists, and cricketers shared their photos with the star, who is set to launch his political party in January ahead of the assembly elections in Tamil Nadu in early 2021.
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s (AIADMK) party coordinator and deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam wished Rajinikanth a day earlier on Friday evening. Following Rajinikanth’s announcement of a political foray, Panneerselvam had said that there are possibilities of an alliance, but AIADMK leaders quickly distanced themselves from his comment, saying that it was his personal opinion.
Several fans gathered in front of the actor’s house in Chennai dressing up as Rajinikanth lookalikes and wearing shirts with his image. A political extension of his fan club, Rajini Makkal Mandram, which engages in party work, will partake in charity work on his birthday as they do annually.
Rajinikanth’s political debut is set to bring a new dimension into Tamil Nadu’s politics which has been dominated by the DMK and the AIADMK. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is playing all its cards to make its presence felt in the state where it is an AIADMK ally and has favoured Rajinikanth. Also in the fray is Rajinikanth’s contemporary Kamal Haasan, whose Makkal Needhi Maiam comes with an experience of contesting the 2019 parliamentary elections.
In the last three days, Rajinikanth held consultations with Tamilaruvi Manian, the supervisor for the yet to be launched party, and R Arjunamurthy, who was made party coordinator after he recently quit the BJP.
“We discussed how to strengthen the party at the ground level,” said Manian. Rajinikanth will leave for Hyderabad where shooting resumes on December 15 for his upcoming film “Annatthe”, produced by Karunanidhi’s grandnephew Kalanidhi Maran. “I’ve made a commitment and I’ve 40% shooting left to be completed,” Rajinikanth had said earlier. He will return to the city to announce on December 31 the date of his party’s launch.
The Tamil actor’s cult following transcends borders with a fan base across the world who have waited for him to make the political plunge for decades. The actor has now confirmed that his party will contest in all 234 seats in Tamil Nadu’s assembly.