Tamil actor Rajinikanth on Friday triggered more speculation over his entry into politics with statements indicating that he is considering throwing his hat in the ring of state politics. “In olden times, the common people used to go about with their work normally in times of peace,” he told his fans at a gathering. “But when war comes, they will all join. You have work and duties. I also have duties now. But when war comes, we will take care.”

“People keep saying I am not a Tamil,” Rajinikanth said. “Let me tell them that I spent only 23 years in Karnataka. The remaining 44 I have spent here. With their support, Tamil people have made me one of their own. I am a Pachai Tamizhan [pure Tamil]. If I am forced to leave this land, I will only head to Himalayas to be with the Yogis and not to any other state.”

He praised veteran state politicians. “[MK] Stalin is a great administrator. Anbumani is a very intelligent person,” he said. “Thirumavalavan works tirelessly for Dalits. Seeman is a warrior. But the system is corrupt. People are fed up. We need to change the system together.”

On May 15, he had said that he had made a mistake by supporting a political alliance 21 years ago. The iconic actor called his support for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and Tamil Manila Congress tie-up in 1996 a “political accident”. He added that his name was now being used for “political gains”.

Just before the 1996 Tamil Nadu Assembly elections, Rajinikanth had said that “even god cannot save Tamil Nadu” if Jayalalithaa returned to power. Rival party DMK had won the elections that year.

Rajinikanth’s entry into politics has been at the centre of much speculation and chatter for years now. The rumours gained momentum in 2014 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called him during a party campaign. Although Rajinikanth had said that it was a non-political meeting, the actor and Modi are known to share a personal camaraderie.