Rajinikant's gesture to Jaya gives jolt to BJP

Rajinikant's gesture to Jaya gives jolt to BJP

Superstar Rajnikanth’s warm wishes for AIADMK chief Jayalalitha upon her release from Bangalore jail have given a big jolt to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The BJP’s plans for forays in Tamil Nadu following its gains in vote share in last the Lok Sabha polls by roping in Rajnikanth may have to be revised, party leaders say.

In a letter to Jayalalitha, copies of which were released by AIADMK, Rajnikanth had said, “I am very glad to have you back in Poes Garden. Praying for good times for you.  Always wishing you well for good health and peace.” Rajnikanth and Jayalalitha are neighbours in Chennai’s posh Poes Garden neighbourhood.

Jayalalitha was released last Saturday after the Supreme Court granted her conditional bail on medical grounds.

Rajnikanth’s statement was seen as politically significant because the superstar had openly backed the DMK-Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) campaign in the 1996 polls, which had focused on the former Tamil Nadu chief minister’s alleged corruption. His famous comment that “Even god can’t save Tamil Nadu if AIADMK returns to power” helped swing votes in favour of the DMK-TMC then.

The disproporationate case against Jayalalitha was registered after she lost the elections 18 years ago when the DMK formed the ministry in the state and, along with the TMC, joined the Deve Gowda government at the Centre.

Even as BJP leaders agreed that the superstar’s move might be intended to ward off trouble for the release of his new movie “Lingaa” from AIADMK cadres in December, they could not help but say privately that they cannot count on him for campaign against Jayalalitha in the future.

In fact soon after Jayalalitha’s conviction, BJP leaders had hinted at the party preparing to fill what they saw was a “political vacuum” that could develop if the AIADMK went rudderless and the DMK, which is plagued by internal woes and image of being corrupt, was unable to revive itself.

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