Rajinikanth joining politics? The question is now not "if" but "when," especially after the rally attended by around 10,000 of his fans in Trichy on Sunday, August 20.
If the fan support was not enough, Gandhian politician Tamilaruvi Manian all but declared the platforms and issues on which the Superstar could fight elections.
It now remains to be seen how far his political career goes: Many film personalities from South India in general and Tamil Nadu, in particular, have tested political waters with varying degrees of success.
While the likes of MG Ramachandran and her protege Jayalalithaa of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) have gone on to become chief ministers of Tami Nadu, others like Vijayakanth and T Rajender have not tasted success to that extent.
Trial run in Trichy?
However, given Rajinikanth's stature as a star and the response to the Trichy rally on Sunday, the actor rest assured of a good and strong run in politics.
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The public meeting in Trichy had ostensibly been called for fans to urge their favourite film-star to join politics. While Rajinikanth has not been active in politics, he has indeed skirted with it. His statement against Jayalalithaa in 1996 is believed to have helped a coalition of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) come to power.
However, Sunday was different: Instead of any kind of opposition to any government scheme, Rajinikanth is believed to have given his fans a glimpse of the issues he can be expected to fight for.
Lawyer and social activist Tamilaruvi Manian told the fans at the meeting: "I will explain Rajini's brand of politics and his agenda and take back fans' expectations to Rajini."
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He also said that Rajinikanth "wants to bring about inter-linking of rivers in south India, transparent good governance, and a corruption-free state."
A long-time coming
Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan — two of the biggest stars in Kollywood, the Tamil film industry — have both been plagued by politics and politicians, which has from time to time affected the earnings of their films.
While both have steered clear of joining politics, they have indeed made some political statements. But more recently, they got tongues wagging when they attended a DMK jubilee together and spoke on some topics.
Hints of Rajinikanth's entry into politics have been coming since May, and have been met with opposition from various quarters, primarily on the fact that he was born Maharashtrian — his real name is Shivaji Gaekwad.