SOCIAL MEDIA in India lit up Friday when world-famous actor Rajinikanth, in a speech on the last day of a week-long meet-and-greet in Chennai, dropped numerous hints he may be considering a political career.
The actor had only days ago quelled speculation of the possibility when he told Tamil Nadu fans on the first day of the meet-and-greet that he had no political aspirations and would only take the plunge “if God wills it.”
Friday’s speech, however, set tongues wagging all over again.
It will be blessing for Tamil Nadu and India if Thalaivar Rajinikanth enters politics by creating a new party. Excited!!! #VoteForThalaivar
— Gaurav Kumar (@puraanigali) May 19, 2017
According to local media reports, the 66-year-old actor told fans to wait for an impending “war” and that he would notify them when it begins.
“Go home and do your work. The day we have to fight the war, we will take care of it,” he was quoted in The Hindu as saying.
“In the old days, all men would go when there was a war,” he added, according to NDTV.
Rajinikanth also singled out several Tamil Nadu leaders whom he identified as doing good jobs, namely MK Stalin, the working president of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party, Anbumani Ramadoss, the youth wing leader of the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) party, Thol. Thirumavalavan, chief of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) party and Naam Tamilar Katchi leader Seeman.
“Cho Ramamswamy used to say that Stalin will do wonders if he is given a free hand. He is a good administrator,” The Hindu quoted the actor saying.
“Anbumani Ramadoss is also a well-educated man with good ideas. Seeman’s ideas have amazed me at times,” he added.
However, Rajinikanth said despite their leadership, “the system itself is rotten”.
“Democracy is rotten. The way people think of democracy has changed drastically. People’s notion about democracy needs to change.”
“We should change the system,” he added, according to NDTV.
— Superstar Fans (@Rajini_RFC) May 19, 2017
He then touched on criticism suggesting his non-Tamil origin made him unfit to lead Tamil Nadu, insisting that he considers himself a “pure Tamil”.
“I wanted to clear this: There are questions raised about my non-Tamil origin. I was in Karnataka for the first 23 years of my life. I have spent 44 years in Tamil Nadu.”
He added that the people of Tamil Nadu “made me Tamil by their inflinching support. I am pure Tamil.”
Rajinikanth was likely responding to a ruling party MP, who just days ago said he would be a “disaster” in politics and called him an outsider. According to News18, the MP, Subramaniam Swamy also said:
“Rajini should stay out of politics. He has no idea or the qualification to be CM.”
Local media, however, says millions of Rajinikanth’s adoring fans in India are supportive of the prospect of the actor joining politics in Tamil Nadu, believing him to be the best candidate to fill a vacuum created by the death of its former chief minister J. Jayalalithaa.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), India’s largest political party and the party of current Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is also said to be willing to welcome Rajinikanth into its fold, hoping to gain from his influence.
The actor has not responded positively to the overtures but has also not turned his nose up at the prospect, which many say signals his openness to joining politics.
Speculation over the possibility of his political debut has even resulted in fans scrutinising his films for hints, like the 2002 Baba, which contained numerous political dialogues.
Fans have also taken to using the #VoteForThalaivar hashtag on Twitter to express support for the superstar.
Rajni Sir will be the only CM to whom PM & President will report . #VoteForThalaivar
— Governor of India (@GovernerOfIndia) May 19, 2017
Thalaivar entering into politics may open other chapter in political era👌💪 #VoteForThalaivar
— Varshini Chowdary😎 (@Varshinigaru) May 19, 2017
#VoteForThalaivar It's not only TN but our country needs a leader and Noble person like Rajni Sir to join politics and bring change in lives
— rakesh upadhyaya (@rakeshupadhyaya) May 17, 2017
A Twitter poll was also started.
— NeethiMandram (@NeethiMandram) May 19, 2017