"I lived in Karnataka for 23 years and in Tamil Nadu for 43 years. Though I am from Karnataka, you welcomed me and made me a true Tamilian," Rajinikanth said on Friday. While he did not invoke any names when he made the statement, it was clearly a jibe at those mocking him for not being a Tamilian.
Rajini shuts detractors in style
Rajinikanth in his own inimitable style silenced his detractors including BJP MP Subramanian Swamy. Making it clear that he was no less a Tamilian than all those who were mocking him, the superstar claimed that the people of Tamil Nadu had made him a Tamilian. Despite not naming anyone, Rajinikanth's comments made it clear that he intended to send a clear message to anyone who thought of him as a non-Tamil.
"Marathi from Bengaluru, he will fail"
Subramanian Swamy had mocked Rajinikanth after he spoke about his entry into politics. Swamy snubbed the superstar and claimed that he was not even a Tamilian to enter Tamil Nadu politics. "Leave alone becoming a politician he isn't even a Tamilian. He is a Marathi from Bengaluru. He will fail," Swamy had said. Swamy had said that Rajinikanth was a mere distraction and had no ideology. All these comments even before the actor even committed to entering the political fray.
Swamy takes a U-turn
As soon as Rajinikanth's jibe was made public, BJP's Subramaniam Swamy made a U-turn and claimed that he never said that Rajinikanth was not a Tamilian. On Friday, Swamy claimed that Rajinikanth's comments were perhaps directed at the DMK that has always highlighted the 'outsider' tag. "I do not think the comments are directed at me. He perhaps is referring to the DMK that always highlighted the Marathi issue,' Swamy told news channels when asked for a reaction on Rajinikanth's jibe.
"One among you"
Rajinikanth, who in the past, has been pulled up for staying away from protests in Tamil Nadu against Karnataka has now voluntarily called himself a Tamilian. Protests had broken out against Rajinikanth who had stayed away when the entire Tamil cinema fraternity protested over the Cauvery issue. He later sat on a day-long dharna in support of the people of Tamil Nadu. The star has often found himself torn between the two states when it came to Cauvery. On Friday, however, Rajinikanth called himself a Tamilian amid cheers and roars from fans.
Counting his strengths?
While Rajinikanth's comments made on Friday were aimed at shutting his detractors, it was filled with emotion to appeal to the Tamil masses. Language and Tamil roots have been the foundation of Tamil Nadu politics and Rajinikanth's statements have appealed to the same. With this, the star may very well be attempting to establish himself as a Tamil leader who wants to represent his people. On Friday as well, the star made more comments, albeit in subtle references, that further fueled speculation of him joining politics.