CHENNAI: After at least two decades of speculation and anticipation over actor Rajinikanth’s political debut, it now appears the superstar might call it quits without even taking the plunge.
A note purportedly authored by the actor has been making the rounds in the Tamil Nadu political space. In it, the star allegedly has cited the Covid-19 pandemic, his age, health condition and uncertainty over the availability of a vaccine as reasons for his decision to call it quits.
Neither Rajini nor persons close to him have confirmed the authenticity of the note. “No official statement issued by sir,” was his public relations officer Riaz K Ahmed’s response. Nonetheless, fans and members of his Rajini Makkal Mandram are beginning to make their peace with the possibility.
RMM functionaries told The New Indian Express they had been reliably informed that an announcement to the effect would come soon. The question now is only as to whether it will come before or after Deepavali.
Although Rajini has dropped hints of his political aspirations from the 1990s, he officially announced his intentions on December 31, 2017. At a function, he said, “I will enter politics and launch a party to serve the people of Tamil Nadu as the (political) system in Tamil Nadu has been ruined.
“My politics would be a spiritual politics, treating all as equals," he had said, sparking speculation of an alliance with the BJP. It was at this time that the star’s fan clubs were converted into the RMM as a precursor to the formation of a political party.
While his fans have been carrying out activities promoting him, Rajini did not take the plunge in time for the 2019 Parliamentary elections, or the rural local body polls last December. He claimed his focus was on the upcoming Assembly general election 2021. However, with the polls just months away, followers have been losing hope. Now, with speculation of his plan to quit doing the rounds, they have started preparing themselves for such an announcement.
A district functionary of the RMM, who has been part of the star’s fan association from 1978, said the star’s health was their top priority. “All that Rajini fans wish for is his good health rather than his political entry,” said the functionary, who is in the know of recent developments.
“We were already doubtful as to whether the situation was conducive for our leader to engage in active politics after the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic and the unavailability of a vaccine for the disease,” he said.
According to him, sources from the star’s Ragavendra Thirumana Mandapam and Poes Garden residence had indicated that Rajini is in the mood to set aside his political ambitions.
“Mostly the decision has been taken following pressure from his family members owing to his health. But we would also be in agreement as we consider him (Rajinikanth) a family member like our parents,” he said, adding that his fans would support any decision of the star. “More than anything else, we want him to live a long life.”
According to a district secretary of the RMM, it had been learnt that the district secretaries’ meeting would be conducted at the earliest by video-conference. At this meeting, Rajini is expected to announce his decision to quit politics. “We first suspected that our leader had changed his mind after Khushbu joined the BJP instead of waiting for our party to launch,” he said.
“Now highly reliable sources said the meeting would be conducted at the earliest. The district secretaries have been discussing whether it will be held before or after Deepavali,” he said.
“It may be disappointing for some, but most of the fans want his good health and peace of mind and so we are training our minds to accept his decision and to convey the message properly to the common people, who have been eagerly waiting for his entry for the last two decades as they are frustrated by the atrocities of Dravidian majors,” the district secretary said.