New Delhi: Tamil film star Rajinikanth has said that even though right-wing Hindu forces have tried to “saffronise” him, he doesn’t want to be a part of it. He said that a similar attempt was made to ‘saffronise’ the 6th century Tamil philosopher and poet, Thiruvalluvar.
Over the last few months, however, Rajinikanth had displayed an affinity for the BJP. This is the first time he has actively distanced himself from the party and its politics. In 2017, Rajinikanth had announced that he would enter politics and in 2016, he had supported the BJP’s decision on demonetisation. Last year, he had said the Centre’s implementation of demonetisation was flawed.
“Thiruvalluvar will not get caught. I will also not get caught in that attempt,” he reportedly said at a public function about the attempts to link both him and the philosopher to the BJP.
Recently, the BJP Tamil Nadu unit had tweeted a photo of the Tamil saint Thiruvalluvar wearing saffron robes. It triggered a controversy and prompted protests from Dravidian groups.
Rajinikanth recently also met BJP leader and former Union minister, Pon Radhakrishnan. When asked if he had any plans of joining the BJP, Rajinikanth said that no one from BJP had asked him to join their party. “There is an attempt by some people to portray me as a BJP man. I have to take that decision. It is not right to project that they are waiting for me,” he said.
Later, when reporters raised the matter with him for a second time, Rajinikanth said, “Some people, some media – they are trying to colour me as a BJP man. But definitely it is not true”.
Radhakrishnan had, in October, publicly said he would welcome Rajinikanth into the BJP: “He remains a superstar and I would be very glad if his embraces the BJP.”
Tamil Nadu has a long history of film stars entering politics, such as actor MGR who was also the chief minister of the state in the 1970s, and actress Jayalalithaa who was also the chief minister until her death in 2016.
Commenting on Tamil Nadu’s politics, Rajinikanth said that there was a vacuum in the state in terms of strong and able political leaders. On the Ramjanma Bhoomi issue, on which the Supreme Court is likely to give its order any time, Rajinikanth appealed to the people to maintain peace irrespective of the ruling.
Tamil Nadu is due to hold assembly elections in 2021.
(With inputs from PTI)