NEW DELHI/CHENNAI: First it was party chief Amit Shah who said, “BJP’s doors are open to actor Rajinikanth.” Now, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari has followed it up saying, “the actor could get a special position if he chose to join the saffron party.”
Speaking to a TV channel on Monday on welcoming Rajinikanth into the saffron fold, Gadkari said the party would have a special place for the actor. However, he quickly evaded a question if Rajinikanth could be the Chief Ministerial candidate of the BJP in Tamil Nadu.
“The BJP Parliamentary board decides the issue of Chief Ministerial candidate as per the norms,” Gadkari told the news channel. However, a close aide of Gadkari told Express that the BJP has not yet initiated any move to invite Rajinikanth to join the party. “The BJP is keeping a close watch on Tamil Nadu politics for a long time,” said a senior party functionary. “The State is going through a transition and clearly there is a leadership void. This phase will be short as someone will step forward to provide leadership to the State and people.”
Sources in the BJP said that the party would positively respond to any decision taken by the film star who enjoys Demi-god status in the State. “Rajinikanth enjoys a good rapport with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We hope that the film star will take a decision beneficial to the State,” sources added. The BJP has identified Tamil Nadu as the State where the party aims to expand its footprints.
Meanwhile, back in Tamil Nadu, around 30 members of the Tamizhar Munnetra Padai were detained by the City Police for burning an effigy of the Superstar. They also marched towards the actor’s house, condemning his attempts to enter politics.
The cadre claimed that there were enough efficient leaders in the State and there was “no need to be ruled by an actor who migrated to make a livelihood”. The actor’s statements hinting at political entry have evoked mixed responses from several quarters.