Actor Rajinikanth on Monday said that he was pained to see his supporters protesting against his decision to not enter politics owing to his health and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, ANI reported.

The 70-year-old’s remarks came after thousands of his fans staged a demonstration at Valluvar Kottam in Chennai on Sunday, urging him to withdraw his decision to opt out of politics, according to The Hindu. The protestors appealed to the actor to take into account the importance of the upcoming Assembly elections, and the need for him to enter politics to “save Tamil Nadu”.

The demonstration was held despite the actor’s outfit Rajini Makkal Mandram, which was launched as a precursor to his political party, warning against any such gatherings. All 38 district secretaries of the outfit had also put out a notice, instructing its members to stay away from the protests, according to The News Minute.

In a statement put out by the actor on his Twitter handle, Rajinikanth appealed to his fans to not organise such events in the future, saying such acts only saddened him “more and more”, according to PTI.

“Some of my fans along with expelled cadres of Rajini Makkal Mandram have protested in Chennai against my decision of not entering politics,” he said. “I have taken my decision, I appeal to everyone to not indulge in such things as it pains me.”

The actor also thanked those who chose not to participate in the demonstrations, as requested by his outfit. “I have already elaborated on the reasons as to why I am not entering politics now,” he added. “I have announced my decision.”

After widespread speculation about his political debut for years, Rajinikanth on December 29 announced that he had cancelled all his political plans citing health concerns. He was admitted to the hospital last month after suffering severe blood pressure fluctuations.

The actor said that while he will not be able to participate in electoral politics, he would continue to serve the people in whatever way he could. He called the illness a “warning from God” that he should not take on more stress.

The statement came two days before the day he had said he would launch his political party. At the start of December, Rajinikanth had said that his new party would contest the upcoming Tamil Nadu Assembly elections.

Rajinikanth had first announced his entry into politics on New Year’s Eve in 2017. He started the Rajini Makkal Mandram in early 2018. However, ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, he refused to contest the polls or enter into an alliance with any political party.

In October, the actor had said that he would take a decision on entering politics at an “appropriate time”. His comments came after a letter containing details on the actor’s poor health was shared widely on social media. The letter, which was believed to be written by Rajinikanth himself, indicated that his plans to join politics were doubtful due to health concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic. The actor dismissed the letter, but admitted that its content about his health was true.