JANUARY 08, 2018
(Note: Tamilnadu politics is really murky and in turmoil for too long after Jaya’s departure. The fact that Rajini’s efforts to emerge as a leader in Tamilnadu is both supported technically and opposed ideologically by actor Kamal Haasan makes the confusion confounded. BJP is trying to get a foot hold in Tamilnadu.
It remains to be seen who will emerge as the Tamil leader for or against the BJP in these troubled time, in troubled waters. Fishing in troubled waters has become the art of politics today. Let what is good for the country and Tamilnadu come true, we wish. james kottoor, ccv editor)
It won’t be easy to counter the perception that he is ideologically aligned with saffron party.
Among the volley of missiles that have been fired at actor Rajinikanth soon after he announced his decision to throw his hat into the political ring, one appears almost nuke-tipped: the charge that he is the BJP’s Trojan horse.
It is not going to be easy for the man who can take down even an entire army with his one-liners to counter this allegation, as he himself, over the years, has not done anything to dispel the notion that he is ideologically close to the BJP. And his relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who he calls a “good friend” and who had visited him twice in Chennai in recent times for the sake of “courtesy”, only reinforces this narrative.
The actor had also praised Mr. Modi’s demonetisation move. This is in sharp contrast to actor Kamal Haasan, who, after welcoming the decision, apologised recently for “hastily” supporting the decision to recall notes.
Strangely, former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, who incidentally shared an excellent rapport with the likes of Mr. Modi and Venkaiah Naidu, too was seen as someone who would ally with the BJP and help the party get a foothold in the State. But till her death in 2016, that was not to be. Not only that, she even made the 2014 Parliamentary election a direct battle between ‘Modi and the lady’, a battle that she won handsomely.
Notwithstanding Rajini’s nuanced take on what ‘spiritual politics’ actually means, it is seen as an airbrushed version of Hindutva, with focus on smoothening out its rough edges. Ditto for Jayalalithaa who had no qualms either in taking a holy dip in the mahamaha kulam in Kumbakonam or belligerently asserting that she is indeed a pappathi (a Brahmin lady). Perhaps the same difference ends there.
As much as Rajini is no MGR or Jayalalithaa, his yet to be launched party is no AIADMK. Yes, it is important for the BJP to gain a foothold in T.N. by whatever means it can, but in its relationship (both existing and potential) with Mr. Rajinikanth – given the actor’s political inexperience and what it takes to get a party up and running – it will always have an upper hand or will try to, something that it could never imagine doing with Jayalalithaa, who had a well-oiled electoral machine that could crush any opposition.
Since she was the incumbent Chief Minister, she was also bargaining from a position of strength and did not have to contend with naked aggression from the BJP, which doesn’t miss a chance to land a punch or two on its political opponents, sometimes below the belt, as some allege.
Hence, till the time Mr. Rajinikanth gains political muscle of his own and backs it up with other life support system like funding and electoral strategy, he will be seen as Mr. Modi’s alter ego, and his proposed party, the BJP-wolf in a sheep’s clothing.
It remains to be seen whether the modern-day Arjuna—who quoted from Bhagavat Gita as he announced his decision to plunge into politics—will emerge out of the Chakra Vyugh that he has set for himself.