A day after a protest in Chennai to demand his political entry, Rajinikanth on Monday clarified that he has no plans to revisit his decision to abstain from the political arena and asked his fans not to pressure him further.
“Do not put pressure on me to change my decision to not enter politics by holding rallies. My statement was clear about why I am not entering electoral politics,” he said.
Rajinikanth’s decision to abstain from electoral politics did not only derail the BJP’s immediate plans but also decreased the party’s bargaining power and leverage against senior alliance partner AIADMK. From its earlier strategy to endorse Rajinikanth’s outfit, and ostensible bickering over the CM candidate, the party is now clear in its recognition of the AIADMK being the bigger partner. On Monday, C T Ravi, senior BJP leader in charge of Tamil Nadu, said that AIADMK being the single largest party in their alliance would be the one to naturally pick the CM candidate too.
Amid reports that the protest was orchestrated by a section of people on behalf of the BJP, Rajinikanth’s statement expressed displeasure that members of his fans club had joined hands with people who were actually expelled from Rajini Makkal Mandram (RMM) — a Rajinikanth fans association. “It was against the decision of RMM,” Rajinikanth said.
Rajinikanth’s decision to opt out of politics last month was seen as a setback to BJP as the national party hoped to build on another power centre in Tamil Nadu parallel to the established Dravidian parties.
Sources close to Rajinikanth said the actor thinks the protest was the handiwork of elements who wanted to benefit from his political entry.
“There were a couple of reasons that made him take the final decision to opt out of politics. The main reason was BJP pressure and their consistent interference in his party affairs. Pressure from both his daughters for health risks also played a role… If BJP hadn’t shown this much interest and often sounded as if they will make use of him, he would have still launched the party in his own way. All along, he was being submissive. He didn’t want to invite unnecessary trouble too by taking an aggressive stand against them,” a source close to Rajinikanth said.
S Shankar, a journalist-turned-Rajinikanth fan club leader who also runs a website for the actor, said many who attended Sunday’s protest were genuine fans. “People who genuinely wished for his political entry were there but those who organised the event were different. They were like ghosts. He (Rajinikanth) knew this fact, that is why he issued a statement today to avoid such protests,” Shankar said.
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