March 5, 2018
March 5, 2018
In his first public speech after announcing his decision to enter politics, superstar Rajinikanth today said that there is a vacuum in Tamil Nadu politics which has compelled him to step in. "When there were two strong leaders like Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi, there was no vacuum… Tamil Nadu needs a leader and I have come to fill in," the 67-year-old said to loud cheers from a nearly 5,000-strong crowd, which had gathered at a private university just outside Chennai.
Invoking former Tamil Nadu chief minister MG Ramachandran, Rajinikanth said, "Many say all can't become MGR. Yes, none can become MGR. He's a yuga Purush. But I have the confidence that I can give MGRs good governance."
Before he started his speech, Rajinikanth inaugurated a statue of MG Ramachandran at the university.
There was intense speculation on whether Rajinikanth will reveal some of his political plans days after Tamil Nadu's other superstar Kamal Haasan announced his party's name and agenda.
The actor arrived at the Dr MGR Educational and Research Institute in an Audi SUV, waving to fans gathered outside through the car's sunroof. There were about 5,000 to 6,000 people in the hall where Rajinikanth spoke and about an equal number are in an adjacent outdoor auditorium and will watch the speech on a giant screen.
The highway en route to the university outside the city is dotted with hundreds of big Rajinikanth posters and hoardings. A controversy erupted when a well-known activist, Traffic Ramaswamy alleged that the posters have been put up in violation of rules and are causing problems for pedestrians. He has threatened to complain to the Madras high court tomorrow.
While leaving his Poes Garden home for university, Rajinikanth said he would speak about the posters there.
On December 31, Rajinikanth, 67, had announced he would launch a party and contest all 234 assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu in the next elections due in 2021. He said he would launch the party after elections were announced in the state, refusing to say he would contest the national election in 2019. He would take a call later, he said.
The actor has meanwhile launched a website to allow people to register themselves as members of his forum, Rajini Mandram. His team is also busy appointing district wise office-bearers.
Today's meeting comes just ahead of the release of his next film Kaala in April, a teaser for which was released a few days ago.
In February, Rajinikanth's friend and contemporary Kamal Haasan launched his political party Makkal Needhi Maiam in Madurai. Asked if there could be an alliance between the two stars, Rajinikanth said, "Only time will tell."
However, in a speech at the Harvard University, Kamal Haasan said, "An alliance is unlikely if saffron is Rajini's colour."
More recently, after he launched his party, Kamal Haasan said the two actors have agreed not to attack the other in public.
Both Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth are seen to have timed their debuts to take advantage of a political vacuum in Tamil Nadu politics following former Chief Minister and AIADMK chief J Jayalalitha's death and DMK boss M Karunanidhi's age and poor health.
In the 1990s, Rajinikanth's call against Jayalalithaa with his famous slogan "Even God can't save Tamil Nadu if Jayaalalithaa gets a second term" was seen to have resulted in her defeat, paving the way for a DMK-led coalition to come to power.
Courtesy/Source: NDTV / PTI