◄ Every time there’s an election in Tamil Nadu – Assembly, bypoll, Lok Sabha or even a municipal one – megastar Rajinikanth is one man whose opinion is known to wield massive influence. Many have speculated wildly of the actor’s potential to run for office, possibly for the chief minister’s chair considering his ever-loyal fan base.
◄ But the actor has shied from officially entering politics and contesting elections. In 1996, many say his dramatic statement ahead of Assembly elections, “If Jayalalithaa is voted back to power, even God cannot save Tamil Nadu”, created ripples in the state and led to a humiliating defeat for the late AIADMK leader. Jayalalithaa herself lost from the Bargur constituency.
◄ So it was quite natural that everyone looked towards Rajinikanth when the bypoll for the RK Nagar constituency came along. The murmurs heated up when photos emerged of Rajinikanth meeting Gangai Amaran, an acclaimed music composer who has been fielded by the BJP as its candidate in RK Nagar. Amaran, a good friend of the actor, had joined the saffron party in 2014.
◄ With the bypoll turning out to be a high-profile fight with both the Sasikala and the Panneerselvam factions of the AIADMK fielding their nominees and scrambling for the official party symbol, the actor’s opinion mattered.
◄ On Thursday, Rajinikanth finally spoke. He said he supports: No one.
◄ My support is for no one in the coming elections — Rajinikanth (@superstarrajini) March 23, 2017
◄ Many had speculated that the actor’s photo-op with Gangai Amaran was yet another evidence of him coming closer to the BJP. In 2014, prime minister Narendra Modi had met the actor ahead of elections but both termed it a ‘courtesy call.’
◄ The bypoll in RK Nagar has been necessitated after the death of Jayalalithaa who represented the seat. It is said to be a four-cornered contest with both factions of AIADMK, DMK and the BJP all fielding their nominees.