Voices Tuesday, August 26, 2014 - 05:30
Dhanya Rajendran| The News Minute| April, 13, 2014| 1.30 pm IST He is the Thalaivar of Tamil cinema. The man who has the unique distinction of having almost 50,000 fan clubs in Tamil Nadu alone, a man whose command over his fans is absolute. As BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi meets superstar Rajinikanth, the question is- who is endorsing who? The BJP for sometime has been hoping that Rajinikanth endorses the party. Even before the alliance was decided in Tamil Nadu, BJP leader Pon Radhakrishnan had told the media in 2013 that the party hopes Rajinikanth will take a political stand. Rajinikanth has not yet granted the gift of his endorsement to any of the BJP's local leaders. But the meeting with Narendra Modi, BJP hopes will help improve their political fortune. “It is unlikely that Rajinikanth will take a political stand or announce his support. But the meeting will help us. Many candidates can gain by simply putting up posters of the meeting. It will give a sense of credibility for the BJP in Tamil Nadu,” a senior BJP leader told The News Minute. Sreedhar Pillai, senior film journalist and analyst says that Modi meeting Rajinikanth will definitely give an impetus to the BJP’s campaign in Tamil Nadu. “So far it has been a three-cornered fight in Tamil Nadu, but no real star has been involved in this election campaign. If Rajinikanth meets Modi, it will boost the BJP in Tamil Nadu. And Modi going directly to Rajinikanth’s house, shows the latter’s influence. While actors like Nagarjuna and Pawan Kalyan went to Gujarat to meet Modi, here he himself is going to Rajinikanth’s house.” “The curiosity and media coverage surrounding the visit will be tremendous. And people across Tamil Nadu will watch it keenly. Rajinikanth’s sympathies for the right have always been known, this meeting will further help the BJP,” Sreedhar Pillai added. This is not the first time that Narendra Modi is meeting Rajinikanth. Known to share a good rapport, Modi even visited Rajinikanth when he was hospitalised. Rajinikanth and politics Riding on the tremendous success of his movie Basha in 1995, Rajinikanth who had become a power to reckon with has openly endorsed the DMK- Tamil Maanila Congress alliance in 1996. He was reported to have said then, “"Even God cannot save Tamil Nadu if AIADMK returns to power.” The AIADMK did not return to power in 1996. In 2004, Rajinikanth said he would vote for the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections. Though he did not say anything beyond that, the BJP went to town with that support. But the party did not win any seats from Tamil Nadu in 2008 assembly polls. Later when Telugu actor Chiranjeevi took a plunge into politics and announced his party, Prajarajyam, there was tremendous pressure on Rajinikanth to enter politics. In November 2008, Rajinikanth for the first time ever- met fan representatives from 32 districts. But the evasive star left his entry into politics to God saying that if God gave a sign, he was ready to form a party the very next day. Rajinkanth’s affinity towards the right wing is well-known. He has made no qualms declaring that the late Bal Thackeray was one of his favorite leaders. In fact Rajinikanth has even said that ‘Bal Thackeray was like god to him.” He has also toed the BJP’s line on the Ram Sethu issue The BJP has always hoped that this affinity towards the right will make Rajinikanth campaign for them. Repeated attempts have been made by the party to woo the actor. Even L K Advani had tried to rope in Rajinikanth in 2008. It is true that Rajinikanth is not as politically relevant as he was a decade ago. But still, Thalaivar's word carries a lot of weightage. So will Modi be able to do what Advani could not? Or will this meeting too end up being one just for courtesy?

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