Tamil Nadu

‘Rajini is firm that he will not be the CM candidate’

While actor Rajinikanth livened up the political scene ahead of the Assembly election by declaring that he would launch a political party in January, he remains firm on his stand that he will not be its chief ministerial candidate.

“Till this minute, he has been firm about it. But people seem to expect him to be the chief ministerial candidate. We will see in due course of time,” Tamilaruvi Manian, appointed overseer of the party affairs by the actor, told The Hindu on Thursday.

Mr. Manian, however, insisted that only Mr. Rajinikanth could create a transparent and non-corrupt administration.

The actor’s decision to take the political plunge did come as a surprise. Just last Monday, during his conversation with Rajini Makkal Mandram office-bearers, he reportedly raised the possibility of his campaign getting derailed if he contracts COVID-19 during the election campaign.

Asked what transpired in the last few days that made the actor change his decision, Mr. Manian said, “Nothing really changed. In his heart, it has been a running thought that he should keep his word [on his political entry, made on December 31, 2017]. He had said that he would enter politics, for sure, and that he would start a political party and contest the Assembly election in 2021. He did not want to be a person who did not keep his word. There has been no external pressure on him. These are all laughable things,” he said.

Mr. Manian also spoke about the speculation over possible electoral alliances that Mr. Rajinikanth could strike before the Assembly election. “He has not spoken a word about this. He is only thinking about starting a party and taking it to the people to understand their reactions, and assess what kind of an uprising it brings. He will speak about political alliances only after that,” he said.

Second-line political leaders, who have the ear of Mr. Rajinikanth, told The Hindu that he was well aware of the disappointment he would create among fans if he decided to withdraw from politics.

A politician, who is widely tipped to join him, said, “I have already discussed how his messages can be taken to villages by installing LED screens. Mr. Rajinikanth has an extraordinary reach. He does not have to campaign like other political leaders.”

Some observers felt that Mr. Rajinikanth’s announcement had given a new lease of life to smaller parties and other possible factions, who now held a trump card while negotiating seat-sharing agreements with the two major Dravidian parties.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 9:23:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/rajini-is-firm-that-he-will-not-be-the-cm-candidate/article33244606.ece

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