CHENNAI: Talks of a possible meeting between home minister Amit Shah, who is visiting Chennai on Saturday, and actor Rajinikanth have got the rumor mills spinning, at a time when the BJP is trying to boost its appeal in Tamil Nadu ahead of next year’s assembly polls.
Shah is scheduled to inaugurate a slew of projects in Chennai, including the city’s fifth reservoir, and work on Phase-II of the Chennai Metro Rail. Though no political engagements have yet been announced, Shah is expected to discuss with chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami the future of the BJP-AIADMK alliance, which has been strained by the spat between the two parties over the Vetrivel Yatra.
However, his possible meeting with Tamil superstar Rajinikanth has become the biggest talking point now.
The actor has so far left everyone guessing about whether he would launch his own party. Recently, a purported leaked letter on social media showed that doctors had advised Rajinikanth against campaigning and entering active politics due to health issues. While the actor said the letter was fake, he did admit that the contents of it were true.
With the BJP’s alliance with the state’s ruling AIADMK on rocky ground, it is expected that Shah may urge the actor to join or support the BJP. Recently, another popular actor, Khushbu Sundar, jumped ship from the Congress to the BJP in the state.
The BJP and AIADMK have been at loggerheads over the Vetrivel Yatra. The AIADMK government in the state has not given the BJP permission to carry out the state-wide procession in praise of Lord Murugan, over reasons ranging from the pandemic to inciting communal discord.
Shah’s visit comes also in the backdrop of the statement of MK Alagiri, son of DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi, that he was toying with the idea of launching his own political outfit. The BJP has already invited the Madurai strongman to join the party.
Further adding to the churn in the state politics is the likely release of VK Sasikala from jail by the end of January or maybe even earlier. The aide of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa, who is in jail over corruption cases, is paying a Rs 10 crore fine to be released.
The BJP so far has not managed to leave a foothold in Tamil Nadu. Now the party is trying to capitalize on the absence of the big Dravidian leaders Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa, who had dominated the state’s political discourse for a long time and skew the playing field in its favor by luring well-known names into its fold. Analysts believe if the BJP manages to sway Rajinikanth to join the party, it could be a major blow to both AIADMK and DMK.
Source: The Economic Times.