Will Rajinikanth’s political party join BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha elections?
Chennai, Jan 1: On the last day of 2017, all eyes were fixed on Rajinikanth, who on Sunday announced his entry into politics in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
Politics in Tamil Nadu, which since the death of former chief minister and AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa in 2016 is witnessing chaos and confusion, got a lot of hope after Rajinikanth became a part of the political fraternity in the state.
From the ruling AIADMK to the opposition DMK, every party and political leader in the state reacted to the latest political development where Rajinikanth stated that he would soon float his own political party and contest all the seats in the next Assembly elections.
While the 67-year-old's supporters welcomed his political debut, critics remained skeptical about the whole affair.
What is most interesting is the way the BJP reacted immediately after Rajinikanth announced that he has entered politics with a 'bang'.
All along, the BJP has been keen that the 67-year-old joins politics. On Sunday, when Rajinikanth became a part of political fraternity, the BJP said that his political outfit will join the NDA before the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
BJP state president Tamilisai Soundararajan told the media that Rajinikanth's political outfit will be a part of the NDA in the 2019 polls.
However, Rajinikanth maintains that he will take a call on Lok Sabha polls "when the time comes".
The BJP, which has been trying hard to gain its foothold in Tamil Nadu politics, is banking a lot on Rajinikanth's support. Although the actor has never publicly said anything in support of the BJP, he shares close proximity to many in the saffron party. Rajinikanth also shares good rapport with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
According to The Indian Express, a senior PMK leader said Rajinikanth may do a repeat of what Captain Vijayakanth's DMDK did to the PMK and other smaller parties a decade ago.
The leader added, "Rajinikanth may get a maximum of 10 per cent votes in his first election but he cannot sustain for long (in Tamil Nadu politics), as his pro-BJP stand is already being questioned."
Claiming that Rajinikanth has been given an "assignment" by the BJP, D Ravikumar, general secretary of VCK, said his political entry is not a threat for parties in the entire state, "unlike" that of MG Ramachandran.
"Rajinikanth acting as a front of the BJP will not help him in Tamil Nadu politics," Ramu Manivannan, senior professor of politics at University of Madras, told The Indian Express.
Now, only time will reveal whether Rajinikanth, as he stated in his speech on Sunday that he is only banking on his fans' support in his political journey, or the BJP is also backing the 67-year-old actor-turned-politician.