Superstar Rajnikanth has ultimately taken a political plunge and announced the formation a new party which will be contesting all of the 234 Assembly seats of Tamil Nadu. He had been hinting at the possibility of following the footprints of Karunanidhi, MGR and Jayalalitha in Tamil politics. It is apt to mention that all the three former Chief Ministers mentioned above had a cinema background — Karunanidhi was a story and dialogue writer, MG Ramchandran was a Superstar of the Tamil film industry and so was Jayalalitha. Though other stars from Tollywood have also tried their luck in politics, none have succeeded in creating making an impact.
After Jayalalitha’s death, the expectation of this political plunge was very high. Another star, Kamal Hasan has already made announcement of his intention to join politics, but has not yet formed any political party. People are now expecting a union of t both the superstars to take on the might of DMK, AIADMK and the Sasikala family, which is currently rejoicing the victory of Dinakaran from the RK (Radha Krishnan) Nagar Assembly constituency, once represented by Jayalalitha.
The chances of some type of alignment between Rajni and Kamal have brightened with the announcement of the former that he would like to pursue ‘secular’ and ‘spiritual’ politics. This announcement of Rajni has dashed the hope of BJP, which was hoping to make inroads into Tamil politics with the help of the charismatic personality of Rajnikanth. Moreover, it has opened up the possibility of his joining hands with Kamal Hasan.
Even though Rajnikanth is a famous superstar and has a strong fan base among Tamil people, he does not originally belong to the state. His native origins have a Maharashtrian root, and his birthplace was in Bangalore. In his earlier days, he worked as a bus conductor in the same city. Later on, he joined the film world and emerged as a superstar of not only Tamil films but also as a predominant actor in films of other languages, making his fame spread across India. He possesses the image of a hero who works for the common people and this very fact has made it possible for the superstar to connect with the common man of Tamil Nadu. A similar image and spirit was previously emanated by MG Ramchandran’s persona, and this very image had helped him challenge Karunanidhi in the arena of Tamil politics.
The death of Jayalalitha created a void in Tamil Nadu politics. For the last three decades, state politics within Tamil Nadu was dominated by Jayalalitha and Karunanidhi. With Jayalalitha’s death and Karunanidhi’s advanced age, the original stakeholders of Tamil politics have received a fair degree of change. Due to his deteriorating health, Karunanidhi has given his son Stalin the charge of DMK. In the last Assembly Elections, even though his party failed to get majority in the house, it won a good number of seats and political experts predicted Stalin’s presumable political stronghold.
However, the results of the by-election polls of RK Nagar have proved that Stalin is yet to replace his father so far as political stature and people’s support are concerned. In the by-election, the DMK candidate not only came down to the third position but also lost its deposit. Obviously, Stalin could not take advantage of the split in AIADMK. The result showed that in the near future, the absence of Karunanidhi will also impact the politics of Tamil Nadu.
Rajnikanth enters the platform of Tamil politics in a moment of crucial importance. While the DMK is still on shifty grounds of power, AIADMK seems to face a bleak future because of its internal squabbles, which are likely to escalate after the RK Nagar by-poll results. With the death of Jayalalitha and the retirement of Karunanidhi from politics, a definite void has been created in the seat of power in Tamil Nadu.
The million-dollar question, in such a situation, is this —
Will Rajnikanth fill the void?
-Contributed by Kriti Prasad
Picture Credits: greatandhra.com