Days after he met former Union minister and BJP leader Pon Radhakrishnan, Tamil superstar Rajinikanth Friday said he would not be swayed by the “many attempts” to “saffronise” him. Putting to rest speculations about him joining the BJP, Rajinikanth said he had not been invited to join the saffron party during the meeting with Radhakrishnan.
Saying that the ‘media has always linked him to the BJP, which is not true’, Rajinikanth said, “Many attempts have been made to saffronise me, just like how it was done to Thiruvalluvar. But, neither Thiruvalluvar nor I will get caught in this.” He was referring to a recent picture tweeted by the BJP’s Tamil Nadu unit, which depicted Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar in saffron robes instead of his usual white shawl.
The picture had kicked up a political row in the state, with Dravidian parties targeting the BJP for attempting to saffronise Thiruvalluvar as part of its political agenda.
When asked about the row, Rajinikanth described Thiruvalluvar as a saint who was “beyond religion and caste”, and called the issue “silly”.
“Thiruvalluvar is a saint; people like him are beyond religion and caste. He is a god believer, not an atheist. Talking about this, making it an issue and forgetting the people’s needs is silly,” he said.
Rajinikanth, who had launched Rajini Makkal Mandram before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and seen as a precursor of his political party, also confirmed that he would not contest the upcoming local body elections. “I will continue to act until I start my own political party. MGR acted till he got elected as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu,” he said.
Hours after his statements, BJP national general secretary Muralidhar Rao told news agency ANI: “We have never said that Rajnikanth has joined or wants to join BJP. The BJP is not interested in these speculations. Our focus is now on preparing for local body elections.”