Rajini keeps BJP guessing on joining hands

After actor Rajinikanth announced his political foray at the year end, the BJP has been going all gung-ho with tweets and public comments welcoming the decision. The ruling party, which has been desperately trying to get a foothold in the Dravidian heartland ever since Jayalalithaa fell ill, has found in Rajinikanth’s entry into politics its own chances of making further inroads into southern India.

While Thalaivar has not hinted at an alliance with the BJP, a few remarks made by him during his speech announcing his political foray on New Year’s eve lifted BJP spirits. He referred to ‘spiritual politics’ as the nature of politics he would follow and he started his speech by reciting a few verses from the Bhagavad Gita.

This was perceived as the anti-thesis of Dravidian politics, which is based on rationalism. The Dravidian movement has always taken an anti-Brahminical stand and they have considered Hindu texts as a means to assert Brahminical hegemony and promote caste system. For the same reason the BJP is viewed by Tamils with suspicion and its attempts to polarise the electorate on the basis of religion have not met with much success in Tamil Nadu – compared to other sou­thern states like Kar­nataka and Kerala.

Even though Rajini cla­rified that his politics will be secular and above religion and caste, the BJP was unmindful. RSS ideologue S Gurumurthy commented that Rajini’s entry into Tamil Nadu politics was expected to bring about tectonic changes in the 60-year-old “frozen Dravidian politics”. “His spiritual politics is nearer to Modi’s than to any one else in Tamil Nadu or outside,” he had said. A few months ago, BJP chief Amit Shah had said that the party would be happy if Rajinikanth joined politics.

“Welcome actor Rajinikanth’s political entry with motto of corruption free good governance which is the sole aim of BJP,” tweeted BJP state president Tamilisai Soundararajan.

But the superstar appears to be keeping the BJP guessing. On Tuesday, while talking to the media,  he tried to clarify that his ‘Spiritual Politics’ is based on truth, honesty, integrity and one that is secular and goes beyond caste. The lotus, which formed the backdrop of the venue on Sunday was missing when he met the media. Post the clarification, BJP has decided to go slow and said that it has no understanding yet with Rajini.

Allying with BJP will be detrimental to Rajini’s political career considering the fan base he has, though BJP is likely to get some mileage by joining hands with the superstar. Of late, Dravidian identity has seen resurgent in the state, especially among the younger generation. This was quite evident during the Jallikattu protests last year when a large number of youngsters gathered to uphold their Dravidian cultural identity.

Sangeetha G.