Actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth is set to hold a meeting with district secretaries of Rajini Makkal Mandram on Monday morning and members are waiting with anticipation to hear his decision on contesting in the upcoming assembly polls. District leaders who spoke to TNM on the condition of anonymity, reveal that they are ready to accept his decision to not participate in state politics but hope that will not be the case.
The Mandram's letter to the Kodambakkam police states that a meeting with the district secretaries will be held at the Raghavendra Kalyana Mandapam in Chennai and 50 members will be in attendance. Participants will be wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing norms, the letter confirms.
Even sources close to the actor say that there is a lack of clarity on what Rajinikanth has decided and the meeting is likely to revolve around how the party will move forward ahead of the election.
"We will be having a discussion with him but we have prepared ourselves to accept whatever he decides. If he doesn't want to contest, we will accept this decision because we are his fans for who he is and not just his political career," says a district leader from Madurai. "But one thing is clear, if he insists on having someone contest or lead the party, we won't be on board with this. Such a party won't work. Either he is at the forefront or we just give up on a political journey," he adds.
In March this year, just weeks before the lockdown for the pandemic was announced, the actor had held a press conference in Chennai where he said that he never aspired to be the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and did not want to participate in assembly proceedings. He maintained that he will be the party chief but the CM would be someone educated and farsighted that he chooses. In short, he wanted two parallel power centres and he saw himself as the Chief Executive officer (CEO) of the party. This however did not go down well with fans. Rajinikanth had mentioned that members of his fansâ association were unwilling to accept and expressed his disappointment.
Last month meanwhile a fake statement doing the rounds, under his name, caused the actor to clarify on his political entry.
âA letter appearing to be my statement is being shared virally on social media and in the press. Everyone knows that it is not my statement. Nevertheless, the stuff about my health and my doctorâs advice to me are all true. I will make an announcement regarding my political stand to the people regarding this at the right time after consulting with my Rajini Makkal Mandram members,â he stated.
The Madurai member points out that if health is the primary concern for the 71-year-old actor, the Mandram would not argue about it.
But other district leaders state that they still see a glimmer of hope for the party.
"We are expecting positive news tomorrow with Rajinikanth deciding to take a definitive plunge into state politics," says a district leader from Ramanathapuram. "He has had several months to think about how to proceed and it is likely that he will discuss his final ideas with us. This will definitely mark a new era of politics in Tamil Nadu."