Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, alias Rajinikanth, 69, waited 22 years to announce his entry into politics after giving a call against then Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in 1996. And more than two years after he made that announcement on December 31, 2017, top players in Rajini Makkal Mandram, an outfit launched by the actor, and his close aides confirm that the party will be launched in April.
While the name has not been announced, a top office-bearer of Rajini Makkal Mandram said the launch could be any time after April 14.
Many believe Rajinikanth leans towards the BJP politically and is influenced by Chennai-based RSS leader S Gurumurthy. Tamilaruvi Manian is believed to play the role of a political strategist and mentor for the actor in routine affairs.
Manian, who is holding talks with some leaders from other parties, refused to reveal names but said PMK, an ally of AIADMK and NDA in Tamil Nadu, will be with Rajinikanth, and that “more parties are waiting”. “There will be a rainbow alliance – like the one I had built for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls for NDA with the support of PMK, Vijayakanth’s DMDK and Vaiko’s MDMK, which bagged nearly 19 per cent votes,” he said.
While Manian did not spell out whether Rajinikanth would ally with BJP, he was categorical about the actor’s “strong reservations” against T T V Dhinakaran. “An alliance with BJP will be decided by Rajinikanth himself, but he fears there may be a negative impact if he strikes an alliance with Dhinakaran,” he said.
A source with access to Rajinikanth’s inner circle asserted that the BJP will “definitely” help the actor “run the show”. “The BJP may or may not join his alliance but irrespective of a deal, the BJP will definitely help Rajinikanth, as their aim is to defeat DMK in Tamil Nadu,” the source said.
Confirming reports that the party is likely to be launched in April, although he is “not sure of the exact date”, Manian told The Sunday Express: “That day, Rajinikanth will announce the date of his first party conference, (expected to be) a mammoth event…. We plan to hold this (party conference) in August. By the first week of September, he will begin a state-wide tour to meet and explain to the people his political plan and ideals.”
Manian said the wind is “favourable”, and the latest development has “already left the DMK and the AIADMK jittery”.
The state is scheduled to go to the Assembly polls next year.
While the proposed party has no other prominent face as yet, and many in Rajinikanth’s camp admit the challenges, a close aide who wields sizeable clout in state politics claimed that at least two top AIADMK leaders are likely to join the party.
But Manian pointed out that there was no second-rung leader even when M G Ramachandran — MGR — had floated AIADMK. “Eventually his district-level leaders emerged as state leaders,” he said.
On funds, a source said all recurring expenditures are met by fan club leaders on their own. “He (Rajinikanth) is not giving us money for our trips or office expenses. We are yet to figure out funds for elections,” the source said.
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