Chennai, Jan 1: Finally, the long wait is over. Superstar Rajinikanth on Sunday announced his political debut in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. While fans heaved a sigh of relief, detractors denounced the 67-year-old's entry into politics.
Rajinikanth said he would set up a party and contest the next state assembly elections.
"Those who don't go to war will be considered cowards," the veteran began his speech to a large crowd of fans at the Raghavendra Mandapam in Chennai on Sunday.
Here is the full text of the actor's address to his fans:
"Ennai Vazhai Vaikkum Tamizh makkale (People of Tamil Nadu who sustain my life).
I am not afraid of entering into politics, but I am afraid of the media. If I say something, they will make it a point for debate. Cho sir used to advise me to be careful with the media. Had he been alive, I would have had the strength of ten elephants.
Kannan said (Lord Kannan in Bagavath Geetha) do your best and he will take care of the rest. Won't people call us cowards, if we don't get into the battlefield? My entry into politics is now certain (fans erupt cheering).
It's only a matter of time. I will launch a new party and contest from 234 constituencies across Tamil Nadu in the coming election.
However, I will not contest in the locals elections, as there isn't enough time.
I am not entering into politics, for money or fame...you have already given it to me in plenty.
Had I wanted only the power, I would have entered politics in 1996 itself. However, I waited. If I didn't have a desire for power at the age of 45, would I have it now at 68?
Won't I be called mad? Then what? Politics in the state have become rotten.
Political incidents in the last one year have made Tamils put down their heads (in shame). People from other states are laughing at us.
If I don't take this decision now, the feeling of guilt for not doing well for the Tamil people will kill me. My intention is to create caste and religion-less, spiritual politics.
It's not that easy to bring such politics. Tamil people should make it possible. That is what my intention is and that is what my target is.
I am aware that is not easy to launch a party and win the election. It is as difficult as diving into the sea to collect pearls.
With the blessings of God, love, and the support of people, we will be able to achieve this. I am confident that I will get both.
In olden days, kings loot the jewels and people by invading other countries. But, in democracy, they loot their own countrymen.
I don't want partymen, but guards. Guards who will ensure that benefits and rights reach the common man. I want guards who will work selflessly for the welfare of the society.
In our party, we need guards who will question those who make mistakes, be it an official or a politician. Such guards will be promoted I will only be a representative of the people and my job will be to monitor those guards.
We need a potent force to build the guard and the party.
There are thousands of registered fans clubs in rural and urban parts of Tamil Nadu. The number of unregistered clubs maybe even 1.5 times higher than this.
Our first duty to is to get the unregistered fan clubs to register and create a network by integrating them across the state.
We are going to be the guard... you should bring all the people..women, elderly, youngsters, educated and uneducated people under the ambit of the fan club.
Every street in the village of Tamil Nadu should have our fan club.
This is my first duty to you. We all should come under one umbrella. We all should maintain discipline. Until such time, we will refrain ourselves from speaking about politics, including myself.
Don't scold politicians... Don't criticize them.. there are a lot of people who do just that.
There are a lot of people in the political pond, they have to swim in the pond to survive. We are yet to get into the pond.
At the right time before the assembly elections, we will launch our party.
We will reveal our plans to people. We will tell them what we can do and what cannot.
If we cannot fulfil our promises within three years, we will leave the government.
Our mantra will be the truth, hard work, and growth (Progress). Our ideology: think good, do good and good will happen. Our force will be there in the coming democratic war, that is in the assembly election."