CHENNAI: In what could turn out to be his first official announcement, filmstar Rajinikanth is likely to put a closure to all speculation about his political plunge on Monday during a meeting with senior functionaries of the Rajini Makkal Mandram (RMM), the political incarnation of his erstwhile fan club.
Highly placed sources in the RMM said the actor is expected to address his supporters at the Raghavendra marriage hall, owned by him at Kodambakkam, via video conference from his Poes Garden residence. Around 35 senior functionaries of the fan club, mostly district secretaries, have been invited.
Though a section of his fan club members is hopeful of him joining politics, TNIE has learnt that Rajinikanth is likely to convey to them that he will not be able to join politics due to genuine health reasons. The actor, who will turn 70 next month, has been advised by doctors against embarking on any hectic political activity, saying his present health condition does not permit any rigorous schedule. What is, however, not clear is whether Rajnikanth will actually make a final announcement at the end of Monday’s meeting.
In any case, the intent behind this meeting is that the expectations will wane, thereby reducing the pressure on him. This meeting may be the actor’s way of mentally preparing his supporters to not get disappointed. There has been hope as well as anxiety among the actor’s fans, with a few ardent fans believing that he might lead them in the 2021 poll battle.
After declaring in 2017 that he would enter politics and contest whenever Assembly polls were held, Rajinikanth has been hesitant to take a concrete decision. But on October 29, his tweet confirmed his dilemma over entering politics.
A district unit secretary said, "Our fan associations were rechristened as RMM and restructured only because our leader intended to enter politics. To contest in all 234 Assembly constituencies, we have constituted dedicated booth committees across the state."
The electoral roll verification is a crucial exercise which is currently being undertaken by all parties after the Election Commission commenced the verification of photo electoral rolls on November 16. The process will continue till December 15. The RMM functionaries said lack of clear instructions from the actor is keeping them from this groundwork.
Another functionary explained why this was important to the RMM. "Established parties have their committed vote base. We can only rely on neutral votes and new voters. But, if we have not verified that they are on the electoral rolls and haven't taken steps to enrol them, how can we get any votes?" he asked.
The functionaries pointed out that Rajinikanth was aware of the election process and had instructed them a few years ago to establish booth committees well in advance. "If our leader does not insist on this during Monday's meeting, we can assume he is not in a mood to launch a political party," a functionary said.
Another fan club member, speaking in the same tone, said, "Now he is showing no interest in carrying out electoral verification. Even small parties that don't have committees in all booths are enthusiastically going door to door to verify voters."