As actor Rajinikanth announced on Tuesday that he will not be starting a political party and enter the electoral fray, reactions poured in from across the spectrum.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said that the he was happy with Rajinikanth’s decision because of his health, reported NDTV. He predicted that the actor was unlikely to support the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu next year, as was widely speculated.
“He is a devout Hindu, but secular,” Chidambaram told the news channel. “His broad fan support constitutes the Dalits, OBCs, minorities. He understands the plight of underclass of India.”
The former finance minister further said that the actor could have a “strong moral and ethical influence” in the Tamil Nadu elections and expressed confidence that he will support parties that oppose the BJP.
Chidambaram’s son and Congress MP Karti Chidambaram, meanwhile, tweeted saying that there was “no ideological mooring” for Rajinikanth to be in politics. “His proposed entry and non entry was much ado about nothing,” he added. “It would have been a misadventure. I wish him good health.”
Meanwhile, actor-turned-politician and a contemporary of Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, said he was disappointed with him not entering electoral politics, reported ANI. “I will meet Rajinikanth again after my election campaign,” he said. “Like his fans, I too have been disappointed but his health is important to me.”
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam spokesperson RM Babu Murugavel said that the actor had told him in 2017 that he will not enter politics, reported PTI. “Irrespective of his presence in the electoral field, the AIADMK will not be affected,” Murugavel said.
Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi leader and Lok Sabha member Thol Thirumavalavan said the actor’s decision would only affect the BJP and its ideological parent, the Sangh Parivar, as they tried to “gain mileage out of his fame”, reported PTI.
However, the BJP said it was banking only on “real superstar” Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Former state party chief Pon Radhakrishnan dismissed speculations that Rajinikanth’s decision might affect the BJP’s prospects in the elctions. “The BJP is dependent only on Narendra Modi and not on anyone,” he told PTI.
Several personalities from the film industry also tweeted, supporting Rajinikanth for giving more importance to his health than political ambitions.
Earlier this month, Rajinikanth had said that he would announce his political party on December 31 and launch it in January, ending years of uncertainty about his political plans.
However, he apologised to his fans and Rajini Makkal Mandram members for disappointing them with his decision. In a statement, the actor said people who have joined him will have to face “difficulties mentally and financially” if he is affected by the coronavirus.
Last week, the actor was admitted to Apollo Hospitals in Hyderabad due to severe fluctuations in his blood pressure and was advised bed rest for a week.
“Just because people will question me after I gave my word on my entry into politics, I don’t prefer to sacrifice my allies and friends,” the 70-year-old actor’s statement said. “Forgive me because this decision will cause disappointment to those in Rajini Makkal Mandram and those who expected that I will enter politics.”