Tamil Nadu

Rajinikanth and politics — a timeline

File photo of actor Rajinikanth.

File photo of actor Rajinikanth.  

Political parties have, over the years, tried to capitalise on Rajinikanth’s mass appeal. Following are the major events in the actor’s tryst with politics

Disputing popular accounts of many Congressmen from Tamil Nadu that former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao’s indifference blocked the entry of superstar Rajinikanth into politics, his grandson N.V. Subash said Rao was keen on the Congress contesting the 1996 Assembly polls with the actor as its face. Read here

In 1996, after the Congress decided to align with the AIADMK, Rao’s posters were torn up in Tamil Nadu. The Congress then split, with the late G.K. Moopanar floating the Tamil Manila Congress and aligning with the DMK. The superstar is famously known to have said then, "If Jayalalithaa is voted back to power, even god cannot save Tamil Nadu." The DMK-TMC alliance swept the polls. The actor’s statement on Jayalalithaa was perceived to have contributed to the defeat of AIADMK.

In 2002, Mr. Rajnikanth unveiled plans to start a "people's movement'' on the Cauvery issue and highlight the need for interlinking Himalayan and peninsular rivers. He denied having any desire to see himself as a "political leader or statesman”. Read here

In 2004, Mr. Rajnikanth pledged his vote for the BJP-AIADMK alliance. Though Mr. Rajnikanth was not known to have changed his opinion of Ms. Jayalalithaa, he said the support for the BJP-led NDA alliance was based on an assurance that the BJP would strive for “linking all rivers in the country to solve the drinking water crisis, at a time when other parties did not take a firm stand on the issue.'' Read here

In 2008, responding to a fan’s question on his entry into politics, Mr. Rajinikanth said, “It would be foolish to think that one is successful in politics due to sheer capability, experience and hard work. It is all a question of time and circumstances. If the time is not right, nothing can help.” Read here

In 2014: Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a personal visit to the star ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Talking to reporters along with Mr. Modi, the actor said there was nothing political about their meeting. Mr. Modi said the actor was a good friend and a well-wisher. Read here

Following AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa’s conviction in the disproportionate assets case and her return to Chennai after 21 days of jail, Mr. Rajinikanth said he was “very glad” to see her, a neighbour, back home in Poes Garden. Read here

Recalling Mr. Rajnikanth’s support to the DMK-TMC combine in 1996, a senior BJP leader said the actor’s similar backing to their party could serve as a huge boost its fortunes in Tamil Nadu. Read here 

The BJP intensified its efforts to make Mr. Rajinikanth join the party. Tamilisai Soundararajan, president of the BJP State unit, visited to the actor’s house on an invitation from Rajinikanth’s wife Lata. Read here

In 2017, for the first time ever, Rajinikanth conducted fan meets. Read here. 

Ending years of speculation, Rajinikanth announced his entry into politics. Read here.

In 2019, Rajinikanth announced that he would not be contesting in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. His 'Rajini Makkal Mandram' will not offer support to any political party. Read here

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 6:35:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/rajinikanth-and-politics/article11001320.ece

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