Rajnikant’s entry into politics poses a real challenge to Dravidian parties existence in TN


(MS Shanker)

Superstar Rajnikant finally has announced his intent to enter into political arena setting at rest doubts of millions of his fans and respecting their sentiments to provide “alternative” to the two Dravidian political parties – the DMK with Septugarian leader M Karunanidhi handing over the reins to his Son Stalin and the AIDMK embroiled in factional politics for claiming “AMMA’s – Jayalalitha” legacy..

Rampant corruption and intra factional politics are endemic in both the Dravidian political parties. Political paralysis is real; and governance is dismal. People are increasingly disillusioned with the prospects of “Good Governance”.

While announcing his decision, Rajnikant had also made his intentions clear; ‘not to grab power, but to serve the people better.’

Thus, the political vacuum provides an opportunity; and Rajnikant is attempting to seize the opportunity by announcing his intent to wipe out of corruption within 3 years and to provide “Good Governance”.

Most importantly, Rajni has declared to launch his own political party and field his candidates in all the 234 constitutencies in the next elections.

Meanwhile, Kamal Hassan has also announced his intent to join politics.

Will both Tamil film hero’s sink their ideological divide to fight from joint platform to cleanse the murky and chaotic political scenario in Tamil Nadu? In the present context the prospects of aligning on the political front appear bleak due to his tirade against the right-wing political outfits.

As per media reports, ‘how can it be possible as both are keen to become Chief Ministers?  Moreover, Kamal Hassan says he doesn’t like ‘saffron’ color, while Rajnikant, wishes to keep his options clear.

People’s Choices?

Those who know Tamil Nadu voters, consider them as emotive and ‘idol worshippers’.  Now, they  find Rajni as their new ‘idol’ and are also ‘emotive’ connected.

Yet another significant feature of Tamil Nadu is the “Peoples Dimension”! Both the Dravidian political parties have very strong grass root cadres particularly in rural areas. Even people’s psyche, behavior and choices differ not only from Northern to Southern districts but also into the “Hills”.

Considering such a scenario, will the people desert their time-tested political affiliations to extend support to Rajni’s political party?

Furthermore, will the Muslim and Christian vote bank’s, quite significant in some constitutencies, extend their support to Rajni considering his affinity with Modi personally?

How long ruling AIADMK factions – EPS-OPS – keep their flock together to retain power? What will be the role of TTV Dhinakaran, who won the RK Nagar bypoll, with a massive margin, ensuring DMK lose its deposit?

Many feel further split in the ruling AIADMK is not ruled out. It is too early to make any predictions on the ruling party MLAs abandon their ‘sinking ship’ to climb on to the Rajni bandwagon! Till the bandwagon gathers momentum to emerge as a “juugernaut’ , they may dither.

DMK’s Prospects

DMK too has internal family divisions. How they will play out in days to come is difficult to predict.

Congress Party

At best, Congress Party can stitch a coailition either with the DMK and its allies only.  No grass root support.

What are the BJP’s stakes in changing political equations in most volatile Tamil Nadu politics?

Saffron party has no base in Tamil Nadu and it has no great ambitions.  Moreover, they are well aware they are the most ‘hated’ party by an average Tamil voter for their stands on Hindi language to be made a national language.  The BJP leadership has to reconsider its overall strategies by withdrawing the urge to ‘thrust upon’ Hindi on non-Hindi states to find some foothold in anti-Hindi state like Tamil Nadu.

As your website mentioned in its last report, the BJP and Rajnikant may have discreet understanding to grab power in southern state.  To ensure that the BJP is not luring Rajni or having any further coalition relations and may allow ‘strong voices’ like Subramaniam Swamy from within the party come out with strong statements against the ‘superstar’.  That’s ‘real politics’!

Will BJP senior leader Subramaniam Swamy’s prophesy come true?

More unlikely!  Swamy accuses Rajnikant as a political fraud and also highly corrupt.  Rajni’s past hobnobbing with Karunanidhi or Jayalalithaa, also will not bother Tamil voters much.

Based on past experiences, there are successes and failure of film personalities in political arenas. For example, NTR rode on the wave of “Self Respect of Telugus” to humble Indira Gandhi.

In contrast, Chiranjeevi with an equally formidable ‘fan following’ and a exhilarating launch of “Praja Rajyam based on “Fight against Corruption’ failed and ultimately merged in the Congress Party.

Viewed in the above past, media hype over Rajni into politics does not offer scope to predict its course in the run up to 2019 elections.