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Rajinikanth maintains suspense over entry to politics, says wait till December 31

Rajinikanth remained cryptic over his decision, saying when going into battle, one needed to fight to win, but added that he wasn’t saying he was joining politics.

india Updated: Dec 26, 2017 17:27 IST
KV Lakshmana and Haricharan Pudipeddi
KV Lakshmana and Haricharan Pudipeddi
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Rajinikanth,Rajinikanth politics,Rajinikanth fans
Tamil superstar Rajinikanth on the first day of a six-day-long photo session in Chennai on Tuesday. (PTI)

Actor Rajinikanth said on Tuesday he will announce his decision on his much-awaited political debut on December 31, adding to the suspense whether he will fulfil his fans’ desire of seeing him in a new avatar in Tamil Nadu, where the death of former chief minister and AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa created a void.

“There’s been so much speculation about my political entry. I am not saying I will definitely come into politics. I will announce my decision on December 31. I am not new to politics. I have been reluctant because I am aware of the losses one has to incur in this journey,” Rajinikanth said as he kicked off his six-day long fan meet.

“You need carefulness and strategy to enter the politics. When the time comes to step on the battlefield, you have to win. We need to fight to win or there’s no use of going to a battle,” he told his fans in Chennai amid a rousing response even though he kept his speech very short.

The 67-year-old actor, who enjoys cult-status in the Tamil film industry, will meet over 1,000 fans for the next five days across 18 districts.

“I am excited to meet my fans. I had planned the meet with my fans in advance,” he said at the event, which saw directors Mahendran and Kalaignanam accompany him.

In Tamil Nadu, where film stars and personalities dominate politics, there is a tremendous interest on what the superstar, who enjoys a close rapport with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will do when it came to politics. Buzz over his political debut peaks every time he meets his fans and addresses them.

Read | The political opportunity for Rajinikanth has come and gone

Speculations that Rajnikanth and actor Kamal Haasan would step into the political arena swirled after Jayalalithaa’s death in December 2016. Rajnikanth hinted as much in May when he met fans after a gap of few years and Haasan said in November he was ready to take the plunge.

“God decides what we have to do in life at every phase. Right now, he wants me to be an actor and I am fulfilling my responsibility. If god willing, I will enter politics tomorrow,” Rajinikanth had said sparking off speculations of his imminent entry.

He also mentioned his brief stint in politics when he supported the DMK in the 1996 Tamil Nadu assembly elections on Tuesday, saying it was a political accident.

“Supporting a political alliance 21 years ago was a mistake on my part. My name was misused by a lot of politicians and some of them even earned money using my name. My support is for no party,” he added.

Rajinikanth’s announcement comes after the RK Nagar bypoll – the constituency represented by Jayalalithaa – saw a shock defeat of the ruling AIADMK on Sunday. TTV Dhinakaran, a sidelined AIADMK leader who contested as an independent, won by a staggering margin that outpaced even that of Jayalalithaa’s.

The superstar advised his fans to stay away from drinking and smoking. He said that not only do these habits affect someone’s health but also their decision-making ability.

“I always used to wonder how people can lose their whole wealth because of drinking. It took me a while to realise that drinking leads to bad decision making, and a few bad decisions and end someone’s life. I have been personally affected by drinking and smoking, please don’t fall prey to it,” he said.

The superstar also asked his fans to ignore negative social media messages and urged them to “focus on positive thoughts”.

Also read | Stardom alone will not help political fortunes of Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan

First Published: Dec 26, 2017 10:04 IST