Rajinikanth and his unique political script. The Superstar was, of course, referencing his punchline from his 1999 monster hit Padayappa.
The path he has chosen since announcing his decision to join politics on the last day of 2017 has been pragmatic rather than unique. The actor’s as yet unnamed political party will contest all 234 seats in the Tamil Nadu elections, whenever they are next held either in 2021 or earlier, in the event of a mid-term poll.
“If I join politics, my path will be a unique path” this is Rajinikanth, speaking in 2012 at the launch of the book Chidambaram: Oru Paarvai.
As a first step, Rajinikanth launched the Rajini Makkal Mandram (Rajini People’s Foundation), a website and Android only app (not available for the relatively privileged iOS users), designed as membership drive gateways for the party.
Members of Rajinikanth fan clubs across Tamil Nadu are currently visiting each of the state’s 32 districts, requesting people to join the Mandram. The party’s aim is to gather 10 million volunteers, roughly 13% of the state’s population before a name is revealed.
Rajinikanth is in the process of putting together a core team whose initial function will be to screen and appoint district level party officials.
The idea that Thalaivar wants to gather only good people around him is sound, but that is easier said than done in the morass that is politics.
It is expected that those fresh to politics will be encouraged that those with previous political experience wanting to climb on the Rajinikanth bandwagon. What is not immediately clear is what Rajinikanth’s party’s ideology will be.
Upon announcing his political intentions, he had said that his party would practice ‘spiritual politics’ leading to conjecture as to what exactly he meant by the term. He later clarified, “Honest and secular politics is spiritual politics.”
Be that as it may, the Mandram logo is the mudra the actor deployed in the 2002 film Baba that had deep shades of spirituality, and the music on its website is also from AR Rahman’s soundtrack for the film.
The 67-year-old Shivaji Rao Gaekwad could not have chosen a more opportune time to enter the political arena. After the unexpected death of chief minister J. Jayalalithaa in 2016, matters within the ruling AIADMK party have been fractious with O. Paneerselvam and K. Palaniswami jostling for power before settling on an uneasy truce.>