Rajnikanth’s exit from politics alters the poll arithmetic in Tamil Nadu

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With Rajnikanth’s decision not to enter electoral politics, now the ground is open for the two Dravidian majors namely the DMK and AIADMK leaving little scope for national parties or third front. There are various theories are doing round about his about turn and its impacts on the TN politics. The speeches of second rung leaders of AIADMK give a clear indication that is finding excuses or reasons to leave NDA fold or to assert its dominance in seat and power sharing.
When Rajnikanth announced his decision to enter politics, there were mixed responses. While his ardent, diehard fans hailed it, the Dravidian parties made all sorts of negative comments and even attacked him personally by memes in social media sole aim of discouraging him. It pushed DMK and AIADMK to review their poll strategy to face next year’s assembly polls. They did not want lose their alliance partners and afraid of doing rejig. On December 29, the announcement of Rajnikanth regarding pre mature death of his political party, AIADMK, Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) founder and veteran actor Kamal Hasan, Nam Tamizhar Katchi leader Seeman have welcomed his decision to pursue active politics. DMK took a cautious stand by saying “let him launch his political party and declare his ideologies first”. Left and all DMK allies opposed his political entry by questioning what he did for the public, what was his political stand on various issues the state was facing? All their statements and speeches were meant to discourage Rajni from entering politics. They fear his spiritual based politics with transparent, corrupt free governance would turn people towards him.
In February Rajnikanth made it clear he would not hold any post if his party is elected to power, educated and men of excellence would be at the helm. Now his decision of opting out of electoral politics, leave the field open for the two Dravidian parties. Literally now it will between AIADMK and DMK. The anti DMK and anti AIADMK, anti-establishments votes, which were believed to go to Rajnikanth’s proposed party will now be with them intact. Also the minority votes would not split. Pattali Makkal Katchi, VCK, NTK , MNM and other smaller parties would gain by Rajini’s absence as there will be no star value with celebrity status player in the arena.
A senior journalist cited in 2006, how Vijay Kant’s DMDK took away the votes of DMK and AIADMK. Had Rajnikanth entered politics and aligned with AIADMK, or BJP things would be different. He would emerge a king maker or a major third force to all shots. BJP nurtured its hope that his entry would make a space for them in the coming years. Senkottai Sriram took a different view that BJP is gaining ground and if it project Dalit face Murugan as its CM candidate, it will have impact on a considerable number of seats. Former police officer Annamalai is drawing huge crowds wherever he speaks. Rajini and BJP could have diverted Hindu votes that usually went to the AIADMK. Victory or defeat may not impact BJP drastically. But if AIADMK loses, it would be a cake walk for DMK and AIADMK to face various corrupt cases to be launched by DMK. It would seal its future. The bargaining of powers of smaller parties would come down as they have to align either of the two parties.
Editor of Thuglak magazine, S Gurumurthy cited penultimate paragraph of Rajnikanth’s letter it read, “without directly being in politics, I will serve people”. In my assessment, he will make an impact like what he did in 1996” now the focus is shifted back on the Rajnikanth’s voice which played a key role DMK’s win. He has only dropped his plans of creating a political party but not ruled out of joining political party. “He may extend his support to either BJP or its alliance but not to DMK”, sources close to him hinted. Echoing the same TMC leader GK Vasan said AIAMK led alliance is doing well for the past ten years and we can expect Rajini would extend his support to good forces in the interest of people”
BJP leader in private said after the defeat in 2019 polls, that they had a suspicion both AIADMK and DMK had a tacit understanding not allow BJP to gain grounds. Subsequent events like arresting BJP leader for lockdown norm violations, created hurdles for BJP’s Vel yatra and foisting cases against its leaders.
“Rajini cited Corona incidence and god’s warning for not launching political party. Can’t the same apply to drop the new film contract with Sun pictures? He had said earlier he would not become CM candidate. He was expected to do only campaign. It is a lame excuse which has no takers. He has cheated his diehard fans and backtracked his promise of a political party. Now his fans are protesting in front of his house” said Jaykrishnan, political commentator.
“Rajnikanth’s daughter Soundarya, who accompanied with him during recent Hyderabad for Annatthae film shooting trip. She married to Vanangamudi son. They hail from a DMK family and his brother, former minister K Pomudi, is very close to Stalin. DMK would have moved through Soundarya for Rajni's exit. If we consider Sun Pictures film shooting.... four of the crew members contracted Covid. During that time Rajni was not affected by Covid...however after coming out from hospital and announcement on exit from Politics....it's a face saving plan arranged by DMK., says VS Manian. Though it appeared hypothetical but gave credence to the latest happenings.
But in AIADMK camp, mixed, confused signals are emerging. When Home Minister Amit Shah came to Chennai, the entire cabinet came to airport to receive him. In the government, both CM Edapadi K palaniswamy and his deputy O Panneerselvam spontaneously announced the 2019 lok Sabha poll alliance would continue for the forthcoming assembly elections. Amit Shah did not react either by endorsing or rejecting their offer. NDA is bent on saying CM candidate would be decided by them and they will have a say in ministry formation indicating power sharing which AIADMK has been objecting saying EPS would be their CM candidate.
AIADMK formally launched it electioneering on 27th December in Chennai. In that event in the presence of both OPS and EPS, Rajya Sabha member and AIDMK deputy coordinator K P Munusamy spoke ill against BJP and Brahmin community that are trying to end the 50 years of Dravidian rule. He said “for 50 years, it has been the Dravidian parties (DMK and AIADMK) that have kept away the national parties ( Congress, BJP) from coming to power in Tamil Nadu. In the absence of Puratchi Thalaivi Amma ( Jayalalithaa) and Karunanidhi , some forces are trying to have a foothold in the state. Several persons who were doing calculations to gain a foothold in Tamil Nadu making the use of vacuum created by MGR, Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi. Some ‘ Karunkaligal’ (blacklegs or traitors), some national parties , some opportunists, a community ( Brahmin) and a group , determined to end the Dravidian legacy and its leaders from the days of Periyar ( Dravida kazhagam founder)were carrying out a campaign , saying Tamil Nadu has been destroyed during the 50-years of Dravidian rule movement. We have to be very wary and stay united”.
Munusamy asserted “AIADMK will lead the alliance. CM EPS will be the CM candidate. We will not share power with anyone. Any national or regional party with an aspiration to join in our alliance is not needed” it is a clear message to BJP, PMK and DMDK. Neither OPS nor EPS expressed anything that shows what Munusamy spoke were their views or stand of the party”. Its allies were not invited for the function while it is claiming alliance is intact.
Commenting on Munusamy’s speech, senior journalist Kolahala Srinivas said in a video, “from Munusamy’s speech we should give attention to four points. One is black legs and some parties, a community are saying during 50 years of Dravidian rule, the state was ruined. By KarunKaligal he meant BJP only. He also criticized Rajnikanth. He has been repeating this word Karunkaigal ( traitors or a black sheep). His utterances clearly showed AIADMK was in panic that BJP, Rajini and others might float a third front which would queer its pitches. 50 years Dravidian rules means both DMK and AIADMK. Why he is taking DMK along with him? Does he have any brief for DMK. In contrast, M K Stalin reiterated ( in a recent meeting with DMK functionaries) “ AIADMK is our main target. Aim to win 200 seats is very easy. Stalin told that in order to defeat the DMK, someone was forced to launch a political party. As far as AIADMK is concerned, DMK its known beta noire. Both MGR and Jayalalithaa had been fighting against DMK in their life time. Why should he included DMK in its fight against national parties? Why he singled out Brahmins which has been supporting AIADMK, since MGR days. Its leader Jayalalithaa openly declared that she was a Brahmin lady. He echoed DMK’s voice. DMK has been speaking against Brahmins. They are appeasing minorities in many ways. Both DMK and AIADMK are afraid of Rajini factor. DMK is devising for its own interest. But Munusamy speaking for it. The reason is very simple. Both will unite when there is a third or national force try to set foot in TN soil. By talking for DMK, Dynasty politics charges will lose its value. No DMK leaders spoke like this.
“BJP warned the AIADMK leaders and its ministers to abstain from making such knee jerk comments. It should be balanced comments on alliance and other issues. Such unsavory comments will not only spoil the good relations but advantageous for DMK. We have nothing to lose. Any win will be a gain. But at the same it will make nightmarish days for AIADMK in facing court cases and arrests. We will be in power at Centre beyond 2024”. BJP Chief L Murugan called on the Chief Minister two days ago to sort out the burning issues.