CHENNAI: The much-hyped Rajinikanth's political entry started from Tiruchy in November 1991 by a wall poster and now it has come to end in December 2020 by a tweet.
It all started from a wall poster by a Rajini fan club named 'Thiraiyulaga Raja Makkal Nayagan Rajini Mandram', functioning at Thiruvanaikovil in Tiruchy district, for welcoming a yesteryear blockbuster film 'Thalapathi' when it was released on November 5, 1991.
The poster depicted M Karunanidhi as 'yesterday's Chief Minister', J Jayalalithaa as today's Chief Minister and Rajinikanth as tomorrow's Chief Minister. This triggered a big controversy and drew the attention of the media.
One Samuel, of Tiruchy, who had a close association with the fans association, told Express, "We had printed 100 posters and put out around 70 posters three days ahead of the release of the film. On seeing the poster, an evening paper carried a piece of news about the posters and wrote that Rajini fans are inviting Rajinikanth into politics.
After this, the Srirangam police summoned the president of the fans association Kaveri Rengan. So, he and I visited the station that night. Initially, police enquired about how many posters printed and how much it cost and how many posters are left. We replied we have around 20-25 posters left in our hand. Immediately, they confiscated the leftover posters from us. And threatened us that we will be booked."
Soon, the district level functionaries of Rajini fans association visited the police station and held talks. "Later, police let us off after getting a written statement that we shouldn't print such kinds of posters," Samuel said.
However, the issue was picked up by newspapers, magazines and was widely reported. This was the first trigger about the speculations on Rajini's political entry.
The Rajini fans clubs continued to put out posters suggesting Rajini's impending political entry. Ahead of the release of Rajini's Mannan movie, the posters carried a slogan - yesterday, Ranuvaveeran (soldier), today Thalapathi (lieutenant) and tomorrow Mannan (king). All three refer to the movies of Rajini. The actor too added fuel by his movie dialogues and song lyrics with politically loaded messages.
The hype touched its peak when Rajini met the then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao and urged him to snap ties with AIADMK. In return, he offered his support to Congress. But Rao turned down the offer and continued the alliance with AIADMK. Rajini later publicly extended to the DMK-led alliance in which the Congress's splinter group TMC was a part.
Since then, Rajini's political entry would be a matter of speculation occasionally. But Rajini's public political activity was his opposition to PMK candidates in 2004 Lok Sabha polls.
The demise of AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa and DMK's M Karunanidhi and amidst the discussions about 'leadership vacuum', the actor in December 2017 for the first time, categorically announced that he would enter politics surely and contest whenever the state faces the next assembly polls.
In October, the actor acknowledged the concerns about his health and the risks the Covid19 would pose if he actively engages in politics. On December 3 Rajini said he would launch a political party even braving the risks for his life. A few weeks later, the actor had a change of mind after he suffered fluctuations in blood pressure during a movie shooting in Hyderabad.
He ended the three-decade-long wait of his fans by tweeting a three-page statement.