BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Sunday (April 13) called on Tamil superstar Rajinikanth at his residence here, setting off speculation, but the actor termed it as a courtesy call and said no political significance should be attached to it.
Rajinikanth said he was a “well-wisher” of Modi and wished him “all the best” while Modi described the superstar as a “good friend”.
“This is not a political meeting. When Modiji visited me when I was hospitalised, I had invited him to have a cup of tea with me whenever he came to Chennai. So he has come now,” Rajinikanth told reporters outside his Poes Garden residence.
Answering questions by media persons in the company of Narendra Modi, Rajinikanth, dressed in starched white shirt and dhoti, said, “I am happy he is here.”
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Shaking hands and then hugging each other in front of the huge gathering of his fans, who had thronged his residence to get a glimpse of their superstar, Rajinikanth said, “He is my well-wisher and I’m his well-wisher.”
Narendra Modi’s meeting with Rajinikant ahead of April 24 Lok Sabha polls in Tamil Nadu where BJP has stitched an alliance of six parties fueled speculation that the saffron party leader was likely to seek the superstar’s support.
Rajinikanth has been maintaining steadfastly his apolitical stand. However, the actor, who has a vast fan following, wished Modi, “All the best!” Quickly responding, Narendra Modi, dressed in a saffron shirt and dhoti, said, “I wished him on the eve of Tamil New Year. He is a good friend.”
Narendra Modi, who arrived at the airport, drove straight to Rajinikanth’s residence where the meeting lasted briefly and pleasantries were exchanged.
The BJP, which has been making all out efforts to lay its footprint in Tamil Nadu for the first time, has been desperately looking for support of Rajinikanth to brighten its poll prospects.
Rajinikanth, who enjoys a cult status, has been maintaining a safe distance from political parties, despite being lured by political outfits.
Narendra Modi, who was in Chennai to attend AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa’s swearing-in as Chief Minister on May 16, 2011, had also visited a private hospital where Rajinikanth was undergoing treatment for respiratory problems and wished him speedy recovery.
It was during that meeting Rajinikant had invited Modi to his residence.