Tamil actor Rajinikanth on Sunday said he will float his own political party for the next Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu.

“I’m not in politics for name, fame or money,” Rajinikanth said. “The last one year has brought shame to Tamil Nadu. Every other state is laughing at the state of our politics...This must change.”

“The upcoming elections will have our army as well,” he said. “Our political movement must be free of caste and religion.”

There has been much speculation about Rajinikanth’s imminent entry into politics since he hinted at the possibility in May. As the event began, he said it was this media hype and speculation that frightened him, not entering politics.

Rajinikanth made the announcement on the last day of his a six-day fan meet at the Sri Raghavendra Kalyana Mandapam in Chennai.

“I don’t need party workers,” the actor said. “I need guardians who will safeguard the people of Tamil Nadu...We need the educated, uneducated and everyone under our umbrella.”

He appealed to his fans for support and emphasised that he was not entering politics to secure the chief minister’s post. “I had the opportunity to get the post in 1996 at the age of 45,” he said. “I didn’t aspire for it then. Why should I try to get it now?”

There were celebrations immediately after Rajinikanth made the announcement. Fans burst firecrackers and distributed sweets in joy.

The actor said his party will contest all 234 seats in the Assembly. He said he will decide on whether to contest the Lok Sabha elections, too, at a later stage.