CHENNAI: Anyone could enter politics in a democracy, but none could vanquish the AIADMK, Tamil Nadu's ruling party said after superstar Rajinikanth announced his decision to throw his hat into the political ring.
The AIADMK asserted that the people of Tamil Nadu would always vote for the party's founder, M G Ramachandran, and its late chief, J Jayalalithaa, and added that its vote bank could not be split.
"I am yet to read his (Rajinikanth's) statement. It is his decision. He has only announced to enter politics...Nobody is born nor will be born in the future to vanquish the AIADMK," Chief Minister K Palaniswami said, reacting to the development.
He asserted that the AIADMK, which was created by two tall leaders (MGR and Jayalalithaa) was "alive and kicking" and that no one would be able to vanquish it.
Earlier in the day, announcing the decision to launch his own party before the next Tamil Nadu Assembly polls (in 2021), Rajinikanth had expressed anguish at some political developments over the last one year.
He had said these developments had "made every Tamilian hang his head in shame" and that the people of all other states were "laughing at us" -- an apparent reference to the internal bickering in the AIADMK after Jayalalithaa's death in December, 2016.
In his brief reaction to the superstar's decision to take the political plunge, Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam said every citizen of the country had a right to launch a political outfit.
While fellow filmstar Kamal Hassan and Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, among others, wished Rajinikanth success in his new innings, opposition DMK greeted him for honouring the expectations of his fans.
Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly and DMK working president M K Stalin congratulated the actor.
Asked what Rajinikanth's decision meant for his party, Stalin said the DMK would continue to march on the path of its ideology.
Tamil Nadu BJP president Tamilisai Soundararajan also greeted the actor.
"I extend my greetings to brother Rajinikanth who has bravely announced his decision to enter politics," she wrote on Twitter.
Bachchan congratulated Rajinikanth for entering politics and wished him success.
"My dear friend, my colleague and a humble considerate human, Rajnikanth announces his decision to enter politics ..
my best wishes to him for his success!! (sic)," he tweeted.
Hassan, who has also been hinting at taking the political plunge, too welcomed Rajinikanth's decision.
"I wish him all the best for social thinking and entering politics. Welcome," he tweeted.
Responding to it, Rajinikanth tweeted, "Thank you very much for your kind wishes dear Kamal." In another tweet, he thanked his fans for wishing him and extended his new year greetings to them.
Reacting to the development, senior AIADMK leader and state minister D Jayakumar said anybody could contest elections in a democratic country.
"None, including Rajinikanth, can split the votes of the AIADMK as the votes will always be for Amma (Jayalalithaa) and Puratchi Thalaivar (MGR)," he added.
Responding to a query, Jayakumar said the actor's statement was "too general" and added that he could comment on it only after the "schemes and principles" of the party, proposed to be launched by Rajinikanth, were made known.
"Politics is like an ocean. Anybody can come. We are welcoming (the decision). There is no second thought about it.
But we can comment only after we get to know about his party's principles and schemes," he said.
Newly-elected MLA and sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran said he was happy that Rajinikanth was entering politics.
"I have already answered this query. In a democratic country, anyone can enter politics. (I am) Really happy. I also welcome him," he told reporters.
Expelled DMK leader and the elder brother of Stalin, M K Alagiri, too welcomed Rajinikanth's decision and wished him all the success.
"Rajini's entry into Tamil Nadu politics will bring about several political changes in the state," he said.
"I wish him success for whatever good he wants to do for the people. I will soon meet Rajinikanth," Alagiri told reporters at Madurai.