AIADMK hits out at Rajini for remarks on TN CM

(EDS:Updates with minister's reax) Chennai, Nov 18 (PTI) Superstar Rajinikanth has saidTamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami 'would not even havedreamt' of coming to the top post and described the AIADMKleader's elevation as 'wonder and marvel', drawing a sharpreaction from the ruling party.

The actor, who has announced entering politics andfacing the next Assembly polls, scheduled in 2021, said'wonder and marvel' could happen 'tomorrow also', apparentlyhinting at his political entry.

The ruling AIADMK hit out at Rajinikanth, saying thechief minister had not come to the post by chance, 'but bysheer hard work' of around 45 years.

Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar said the only 'marvel'that will happen in 2021 is the people of Tamil Nadu givingthe mandate yet again to AIADMK in the elections scheduledthat year.

Jayakumar said the ruling party was being targetedbecause 'they (apparently Rajinikanth) believe it will help intheir growth.' 'The only marvel that will happen in 2021 is thatAIADMK will continue in power,' he said.

The next Assembly election in Tamil Nadu is scheduledin 2021.

Using a popular Rajinikanth dialogue in the film'Sivaji', Jayakumar said AIADMK was a lion that will takeon its rivals single-handedly.

Rajinikanth should not make such comments as an actorbut do so only after launching his own political outfit orparty, AIADMK spokesperson R M Babu Murugavel said.

At an event to mark the 60 years of his contemporaryand Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan in the filmindustry on Sunday, Rajinikanth also said Palaniswami hadbelied people's predictions that his government would beshort-lived.

'Two years ago, Honourable Edappadi (Palaniswami)would not have even dreamt of becoming Tamil Nadu ChiefMinister.... marvel and wonder--it happened,' he said.

Recalling the initial days of the Palaniswami-leddispensation, Rajinikanth said everybody had predicted it willbe a short-lived one.

Among others, DMK chief MK Stalin had initiallypredicted that the government could fall any time.

'There was no one in Tamil Nadu who did not say thegovernment will last only 20 days, a month or that it willfall in about four to five months..99 per cent of people saidthat..a wonder happened, a marvel happened.. government didnot fall,and is continuing overcoming all obstacles,' he said.

'A wonder and miracle had happened yesterday, iscontinuing today and tomorrow also it will happen,' he said toloud cheers, apparently over his political journey.

Rajinikanth's remarks come in the wake of Palaniswamirecently hitting out at the actor for his comment that therewas a leadership vacuum in Tamil Nadu, saying he was just anactor and not a political leader.

Palaniswami was elected chief minister in 2017 in thewake of internal rumblings in the AIADMK following the deathof then Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in December 2016.

Though initially incumbent deputy chief ministerO Panneerselvam helmed the government after Jayalalithaa'sdeath, he fell out of favour with jailed party leaderV K Sasikala and rebelled against her, after she was madeAIADMK legislature party leader, paving the way for herelevation as CM.

Sasikala was Jayalalithaa's confidante.

However, she was later convicted in a graft case andprior to her being jailed, Palaniswami was elected AIADMKlegislature party leader.

Responding to Rajinikanth's comments, the AIADMK saidPalaniswami has risen through the party ranks to reach thisposition and 'did not become chief minister by chance.' Party spokesperson Babu Murugavel said according tothe Constitution of India, elected MLAs pick their chiefminister.

'Party workers have to decide who is CM and who willrule.. MGR (party founder late MG Ramachandran) and Ammabecame Chief Ministers like this. The same party worker alsowants him (Palaniswami) to be CM and therefore he is so,' hetold PTI.

The AIADMK was a people's movement and showed thecountry that even a simple party worker can reach thepinnacle, he said, adding Palaniswami had worked for the partyfor nearly 45 years 'and has grown steadily to reach thislevel.' 'Rajinkanth has made these remarks as an actor. If hehas to say something (on such matters), he has to start hisown movement. Time will tell whether that organisation willcreate a marvel,' Murugavel added. PTI SABN BN