Tamil film star Rajinikanth, who is all set to launch his political party and contest the 2021 Assembly polls, has been always portrayed as someone close to the BJP central leadership for his statements admiring the NDA government and party leaders. However, he said on Friday that there were efforts to label him as a BJP man and attempts to smear him with saffron will not succeed.
A day after the new motion poster of his latest film Darbar was released, Rajinikanth came out for a brief interaction with the media outside his Poes Garden residence and was asked about reported offers for him to join the BJP from senior party leaders such as Pon Radhakrishnan.
Stating that there was no such offer, Rajinikanth said that similar to the BJP’s effort to saffronise Tamil poet-philosopher Thiruvalluvar, there were attempts to smear him too with that colour. “But just like Thiruvalluvar, it won’t stick on me,” he said.
The DMK and Left parties had targeted the BJP for trying to attribute Hindu symbols to Thiruvalluvar by draping his statue with a saffron shawl, rudraksha and smearing ash on it.
Asserting Thiruvalluvar’s Hindu identity, the BJP’s Tamil Nadu faction had released a picture of the Tamil saint last week in which he was clad in a saffron shawl instead of the usual white.
Rajinikanth said the controversy around Thiruvalluvar in the state was “silly”. Stating that Thiruvalluvar was a great scholar and a saint, he said, “Such people cannot be labelled under a caste or religion. they are beyond all that.” At the same time, he sought to remind that Thiruvalluvar had a faith. “His verses (Kural) are examples of that. He was not an atheist. He was a believer. Nobody can deny that,” Rajinikanth said.
Rajinikanth said the BJP may have posted a photo of Thiruvalluvar in a saffron shawl on Twitter but “they didn’t demand to drape all his statues with saffron”. “It is silly to celebrate these kind of issues as big controversy when there are lots of genuine issues around,” he said.