Even as speculation continues to mount over when Tamil superstar Rajinikanth will take the plunge, the actor took many by surprise after leaders of fringe group Hindu Makkal Katchi met him at his Poes Garden residence in Chennai on Monday.
Pictures that have emerged from the meeting show Hindu Makkal Katchi leader Arjun Sampath and General Secretary Rama Ravikumar draping a shawl around Rajinikanth.
Addressing the media following the 30-minute meeting, Hindu Makkal Katchi leader Arjun Sampath said, “We discussed the corrupt political system in Tamil Nadu. We have requested Rajinikanth to take the political plunge. He also told us that he is seriously considering it.”
And while it is no secret that the right-wing led by the BJP is wooing Rajini, Sampth noted, “If Rajini enters politics, he will float his own party.” He also added that if he does take the political plunge, the main agenda would be interlinking of rivers.
Rajinikanth’s meeting with the Hindu Makkal Katchi comes a day after farmers met with the actor and reminded him of his 15-year-old promise of donating Rs 1 crore for the interlinking of rivers.
In 2002, Rajinikanth had announced that he would donate the money, amidst a heated Cauvery dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. He had sat on a hunger strike in Chennai demanding the state's share of the Cauvery water. And while Rajini had made the promise of donating money to the interlinking of rivers project, he had made no payment towards the cause.
Following his meeting with National South Indian Rivers Inter-Linking Farmers Association, led by its President P Iyyakannu on Sunday, Rajini promised to hand over Rs 1 crore to the Prime Minister.
In April 2004, Rajinikanth had declared his support for the BJP-AIADMK alliance ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. His decision, he said then, was based on BJP’s promise that it would strive for interlinking of India’s rivers as a solution to the drinking water crisis.
On May 19, Rajinikanth had made his biggest hint that he would enter politics in Tamil Nadu when he told his fans, ““I am always asked if I am Tamizhan. I am 66 years old. I lived for 22 years in Karnataka and for 44 years in Tamil Nadu. I may have come here as a Marathi or Kannadiga. But you all gave me love, respect and fame. You made me a Tamizhan. I am a pachchai Tamizhan.” He also observed that the political system is corrupt but urged his fans to come back “when it’s time for war”.