The moment that Superstar fans have been waiting for since the 1990s has finally arrived. Rajinikanth on Thursday announced that he will be launching his political party. In a tweet, the actor stated that his party will be launched in January 2021 and that the official announcement will be made on December 31. Incidentally, Rajini had announced his entry into politics on New Year’s Eve in 2017.
After keeping his fans and supporters guessing on his move for three days, Rajinikanth took to Twitter, stating that his party will be contesting the 2021 Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu. “With great support from people, in the upcoming Assembly elections, an honest, righteous, transparent, corruption-free, casteless, secular and spiritual politics will be formed in Tamil Nadu for sure. Wonder… Miracle… will happen!!!” Rajinikanth said in a statement he tweeted.
The clarity that the star has given by announcing a time for the launch of his party has come as a huge relief to his fans, since they have waited patiently for years as Rajinikanth has bid his time. This would also give his supporters at least a few months to prepare for the Assembly polls, which are likely to take place in May 2021. For the last three years, members of the Rajini Makkal Mandram, considered the precursor to his political party, have been organising themselves and increasing the number of members. However, since Rajinikanth has several health complications, it was expected that following the advice of his doctors, he would prefer to stay away from starting a party during the pandemic.
In a closed door meeting on Monday, Rajinikanth had interacted with 32 leaders of the Rajini Makkal Mandram, including district secretaries. He asked them many questions including why they believed he should start a political party and contest in the 2021 May elections. Stalin, an office bearer from Thoothukudi, had then told the media that many of them expressed their concerns over his health, while a few maintained that Rajinikanth should announce his political party.
“My entry into politics is certain.This is the compulsion of the times. In the upcoming state assembly polls, I will start my own political party, and contest in all the 234 constituencies in Tamil Nadu,” Rajinikanth had announced on New Year’s Eve in 2017. However, since then there has been little progress on the group to form a political party with the Rajini Makkal Mandram.
Rajinikanth had already said in March 2020 that he will not be the Chief Minister face of the party. He had said then, "I have never wanted to be Chief Minister. In fact, I can't even think of sitting in the Assembly and going through those proceedings! I will be the party chief, and the CM will be someone who is educated, who is farsighted. He will be a person who can govern. And the party chief will be like an opposition leader -- we will be the first to question if anything wrong happens. We will not interfere with the governance -- there will not be two parallel power centres," he said.
For decades, Rajinikanth’s entry into politics in Tamil Nadu has been a subject of speculation, with observers and film reviewers analysing his films for any political undertones. But it was post 1996 that speculation intensified after his one-liner during the Assembly Elections : ‘Even god can’t save Tamil Nadu if Jayalalithaa returns to power’. His single statement is believed to have helped the DMK-TMC alliance win the 1996 election.
More recently, however, Rajini has called his 1996 statement a ‘political accident’ and said he doesn’t support any political parties. Many have speculated that the actor’s ideology matched with the BJP, especially on issues like Ram Sethu and the interlinking of rivers. In fact in 2004, Rajini said he would vote for the BJP-AIADMK alliance in the Lok Sabha Elections. While the BJP has in the past attempted to rope in Rajinikanth for its campaigning, including in 2008 by LK Advani and in 2014 by then PM candidate Narendra Modi, the actor has largely chosen to keep a distance.