Rajini no political superstar, may have missed his day

Rajinikanth's main chance was after 1996 when the state was looking for an “alternative” after Jayalalithaa’s five-year rule marred by corruption, nepotism and above all flamboyance of the worst kind

The actor’s recent statements on police action in Thoothukudi during the anti-Sterlite protests had also earned him criticism, with many accusing him of speaking the BJP’s language.

Tamil superstar Rajinikanth’s decision not to contest the Lok Sabha polls and his refusal to openly support any political party in Tamil Nadu speaks volumes about the actor’s indecisiveness and lack of political instincts.

The 68-year-old superstar, who commands a cult status among millions of his fans, has always shown deep reluctance to take decisions, confront rivals and spell out his stand on the big issues facing the state and country.

When Rajinikanth finally ended the suspense that he kept up for 21 years on the last day of 2017, many believed the actor had turned over a new leaf and would stop speaking in riddles. But 14 months down the line, Rajinikanth has not given up the tinsel screen and embraced political life: indeed, he keeps signing films, raising doubts about how serious his political plunge really was.

His announcement on Sunday asking his fans to vote for the party who they think would solve Tamil Nadu’s crisis by forming a “stable and strong” government joins a long list of statements that raise more questions than answers. In fact, the statement gives room for several interpretations, and the BJP has already tried to spin it in its favour.

Though the actor had said in 2017 that his goal was only assembly elections, a point he reiterated on Sunday, Rajinikanth’s fans would have expected much more from him – at least explicit support for one party or a combine.

It is a known fact that the BJP has been banking on Rajinikanth to face the Lok Sabha elections – it was hoping for the actor’s endorsement of the party and its face Narendra Modi in Tamil Nadu where its Hindutva message has little resonance, and its Hindi roots still evoke hostility.

Political analysts say Rajinikanth stopped short of announcing his support to the BJP because of its unpopularity in Tamil Nadu, but the larger question is why issue a statement that raised questions about his credibility and underlined an impression of indecisiveness.

The actor’s recent statements on police action in Thoothukudi during the anti-Sterlite protests had also earned him criticism, with many accusing him of speaking the BJP’s language.

Political analyst Sumanth C Raman told DH that Rajinikanth’s statement was disappointing because it did not give clear direction to his fans and supporters on whom they should vote for. He was also bemused at Rajinikanth asking people to vote for the party that would ensure a lasting solution to Tamil Nadu’s water crisis.

“I expected him to stay away from Lok Sabha elections but did not know that he would bring the water crisis into his statement and ask his fans to decide based on it. What does it mean? I expected him to at least show the way for his fans on whom they should vote for,” he said.

Rajinikanth should have also explained who he thinks is better to solve the water crisis. “And one can possibly connect it with Nitin Gadkari’s statement that the Centre would link rivers in the South and solve water problems. If this was his thinking, why does not he say it in as many words?” asked Raman.

The main problem with Rajinikanth is that the highly successful actor wants to get crowned all the time and never take the blame. His political support had resulted in the DMK-TMC achieving a massive mandate in 1996, but his appeal to the electorate to vote for the same combine in 1998 was a flop, as was his diktat to people to ignore PMK candidates in 2004.

He duly went into his shell for 13 long years, emerging only after Jayalalithaa was gone and M Karunanidhi confined to his home.

He may have missed the bus, and long ago: His main chance was after 1996 when the state was looking for an “alternative” after Jayalalithaa’s five-year rule marred by corruption, nepotism and above all flamboyance of the worst kind.

In 2019, Tamil Nadu’s political scene is fragmented with several players – caste parties, Tamil nationalistic outfits and even fringe elements – dotting the arena, making it more difficult for Rajini to make any impact. The superstar seems to have run away to fight another day: Whether that day will ever dawn is anybody’s guess.

Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi? Who will win the battle royale of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019


Get real-time news updates, views and analysis on Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on Deccanherald.com/news/lok-sabha-elections-2019 


Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram with #DHPoliticalTheatre for live updates on the Indian general elections 2019.

Liked the story?

  • 10

    Happy
  • 6

    Amused
  • 2

    Sad
  • 2

    Frustrated
  • 3

    Angry

Comments:

Rajini no political superstar, may have missed his day

0 comments

Write the first review for this !