AUGUST 31, 2018
CHENNAI, TAMIL NADU – Chairman Mao Tse Tung had his Little Red Book of slogans he used to regain what he thought was his faltering hold on the Communist Party of China in the 1960s and 1970s, and late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had the Green Book summing up his political philosophy.
Now, Tamil film superstar Rajinikanth, preparing for a career in politics, has his own version – a Blue Book of the values that his fans’ association must uphold, and the structure it must adopt.
Nine months after announcing his political entry, Rajinikanth, without much fanfare, released the by-laws of the Rajini Makkal Mandram (RMM or Rajini Fans’ Association), which is likely to be his political vehicle, in a slim 36-page blue-coloured book. It contains 25 main clauses and outlines the do’s and don’ts.
A key clause, apparently distancing the RMM from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), states: “We want to drive a clean and honest politics (that is) apart from caste, creed, language and race. So people associated with caste-based organisations and religious outfits cannot join RMM.”
On the cover page of the book is a visage of a thoughtful-looking Rajinikanth and a hand symbol made famous by his movie Baba. Most observers expect RMM to be converted into a political party. His fellow Tamil movie star, Kamal Haasan, has already launched a party called Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM).
While Haasan made a big splash launching the MNM at an event in Madurai, Rajinikanth has been working behind the scenes to strengthen RMM, said an office-bearer who did not want to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media.
One of the clauses in the Blue Book was that nobody except the president (Rajinikanth himself) of RMM would speak to the media. While Rajinikanth could not be reached for comment, he has asserted in the past that a formal announcement of a party launch would only take place after the RMM is strengthened at the grassroots level.
The office-bearer cited above said about 7,000 people had already been appointed to positions at all levels. The RMM has also been involved in a membership drive for the last six months. Another office-bearer said on condition of anonymity that the 36 pages of by-laws had been put together in the form of a book to help his followers understand the RMM’s structure and values.
The by-laws deal with the eligibility for membership, the hierarchy in the oufit and appointments. Fans are now hoping that Rajinikanth would soon make a formal announcement about the party. “We have almost completed the membership drive. Our high command has made appointments for all the positions. It has released the by-laws now. So, we are expecting the party launch soon,” said an RMM worker from Trichy.
After Rajinikanth claimed that he would practise ‘spiritual politics’ – a statement that was welcomed by the BJP and other right-wing parties – the Blue Book proclaims that secularism would be the basic tenet. But people in the RMM also indicated that the book was launched to ensure equidistance from all parties; some statements by Rajinikanth had been seen as being in alignment with the BJP’s stance.
BJP state general secretary Karu Nagarajan said Rajinikanth should have first launched a party before releasing by-laws. “…(His) recent statements about secularism do not augur well with his previously stated stance of practising spiritual politics,” Nagarajan said.