Unveiling the statue of late Tamil Nadu chief minister M G Ramachandran (MGR) at the Dr MGR Educational and Research Institute on Monday evening, actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth said he decided to enter politics because of the vacuum left by the late J Jayalalithaa and ailing DMK leader M Karunanidhi in state politics.
In his unusually long and animated speech, in which he took on the media for asking “foolish questions” and answered long-pending queries on his political entry, Rajinikanth said people were asking him why he didn’t enter politics earlier.
“They ask me why I didn’t come when Jayalalithaa was alive. Anyway, I need not prove my courage, I don’t want to remind you all about what I said in 1996 (he said nobody could save Tamil Nadu if Jayalalithaa was voted back to power),” he said. “Yes, of course, there is a vacuum. A vacuum for a good leader, a leadership. There were two leaders but their absence has made me take this decision. You don’t have to have any doubt on that, I can make it.”
His speech began with an appeal to his followers to avoid erecting illegal hoardings for his events as it troubles the public. He said he didn’t want to speak politics as the venue was a university, but the huge gathering insisted that he reveal more. Some 5,000 people attended the event, mostly organised by Rajinikanth’s fan associations.
“Some politicians are asking me why I am entering politics when they do not come to act in movies… But they forget one thing. I am 67 years old, am still working, and am doing my job perfectly. But you haven’t done your job, that forced me to enter politics,” he said, referring to media personnel and some politicians who are “upset” at his political entry and discourage him. “I know it is going to be a tough journey. But you see the support of people who demand and welcome my political entry. So when you comment, you shouldn’t ridicule that fact,” he said.
Generously praising Karunanidhi, MGR and Jayalalithaa for their political experience and contribution, he said he can also run a government with the help of youth and technology and hardworking cadres in his party.
At the event, in which he unveiled a statue of MGR, he credited the late CM for all happiness in his life. He recalled his first meeting with MGR, and days when MGR visited him and inquired often when he was hospitalised in the late 1970s, MGR’s intervention in getting permission from his wife Latha’s parents for their wedding. Rajinikanth also said MGR played a major role in construction of Raghavendra Kalyana Mandapam, a wedding hall owned by Rajinikanth in Chennai city.
He advised students to focus on studies and stay away from politics. “You just vote and go, do not indulge in politics,” he said. He also reminded them about the need to learn English, and advised them to be careful in choosing friends.