Rajinikanth says he will fill vacuum in Tamil Nadu politics, can repeat MGR’s good governance
Veteran actor Rajinikanth unveiled a statue of late chief minister MG Ramachandran at a private medical college in Chennai in the presence of a huge crowd and spoke about his political plunge.Updated: Mar 05, 2018 22:12 IST
Film star Rajinikanth invoked on Monday AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran’s legacy, saying he wants to fill the political vacuum in Tamil Nadu after the death of the yesteryear actor-politician’s protégé J Jayalalithaa in 2016, and give good governance to the people.
The popular actor, who announced on December 31 last year his decision to enter politics, stopped short of announcing his party as he gave his first political speech to an audience at an event marking the birth centenary celebrations of MGR, as Ramachandran is popularly known.
“I can repeat the good governance that MGR provided, with the help of good advice of good people,” Rajinikanth said addressing a large crowd of students, fans and supporters after unveiling at MGR statue at MGR University in Chennai.
In his speech televised across the state, the 67-year-old actor said he wants to step in because of the vacuum in the state and is confident of providing a government like that of MGR who ruled the state for almost a decade until his death in 1987.
Rajinikanth said the state is crying for a leader to guide it because the two towering leaders after MGR — AIADMK general secretary J Jayalalithaa and nonagenarian DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi — are either dead or out of active politics.
MGR is often referred to as the benchmark of success in politics, especially for an actor, with many other cinema professionals trying to emulate him by taking the political plunge in Tamil Nadu.
“Nobody can match MGR even in 1,000 years and that includes me,” Rajinikanth said referring to criticism, especially from the ruling AIADMK, that not all can emulate MGR’s success in politics.
He said that he had learnt politics watching Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa.
“Politicians have been asking me: ‘Why are you coming to politics, leaving the grease paint and arc lights?’ It is because you people are not doing the job, I have to come to politics,” Rajinikanth said.
He responded to critics who went after his previous comments that he would practice spiritual politics, which several people interpreted that he would tend towards the BJP.
“When I said spiritual politics, I meant spiritual to be cleanliness. My politics will be politics without caste and it will be clean,” he explained.
“I do not expect the existing political parties to welcome me when I am entering politics. I also know, politics is not a bed of flowers,” he said.
Addressing the students, Rajinikanth advised them to know politics but concentrate on their studies. “Even if I start a political party, do not enter the party, while you are still a student,” said the star with legions of fans spread across India and abroad.
All roads leading to the venue were decked out with towering posters, hoardings and buntings of the actor, underscoring the enthusiasm of his fan clubs. Some of the posters hailed Rajinikanth as the new chief minister TN is waiting for.
“He knows how to play his cards in films and the real world of politics. It is a big style statement but will there be substance in what he does and says? That remains to be seen,” said Congress leader A Narayanan.
According to DMK leader Manu Sundaram, the superstar may not gain much from his strategy to invoke MGR for his political entry. “The state is grateful of MGR’s contribution but it is unlikely that the younger generation remembers or can relate with the former chief minister. The agrarian crisis and unemployment are the key concerns now.”
Rajinikanth’s event comes days after his contemporary Kamal Haasan launched his political party Makkal Needhi Maiam.
“The competition is between Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth. No one can win with cinema charisma alone. Let him start. Let him speak on issues such as Cauvery. Look at Chiranjeevi, a great superstar in Andhra, what happened?” CR Saraswathi, the AIADMK rebel faction leader, said.
“If superstars come to the road, people will come to see the film star,” she said, referring to the large applauding crowd at MGR University and the roads leading to it on Monday.
With inputs from agencies