BJP gets in touch with Rajnikanth for political role in TN

BJP gets in touch with Rajnikanth for political role in TN

By NAVTAN KUMAR | NEW DELHI | 12 February, 2017
Party leaders are in touch with Rajnikanth and there have been informal talks in this regard.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wants to rope in the superstar of South Indian films, Rajnikanth in the changed political scenario in Tamil Nadu, post Jayalalitha’s death.

According to a top BJP source, party leaders are in touch with Rajnikanth. There have been informal talks in this regard. However, the superstar has not made up his mind yet.

Confirming the development, Tamil Nadu BJP president Tamilisai Soundararajan said: “There is no ‘active talking’ (with Rajnikanth) as of now. But we cannot rule out the possibility of talking to him for joining the party. If he agrees to join the BJP, we will definitely welcome him,” she told The Sunday Guardian.

A national BJP office-bearer said: “People of Tamil Nadu want a charismatic leader to lead the state. They want a mass leader. They have been looking for a new face, other than Jayalalitha and Karunanidhi, for a long time. Rajnikanth can be a good figure to lead the state. If he joins the party, it will be a boon for us. In any case, we do not have a strong cadre or a strong leader in the state. His joining will change the entire political equations in Tamil Nadu.”

Sources said despite BJP’s posturing, the superstar is yet to reveal his intention. “He is looking into all the available options and will take some time to take a final call. But one thing is certain: This is the right moment for him to take a decision whether to join politics and, if yes, whether to join a party or launch his own,” said sources.

The fresh move by the BJP is part of its efforts to get a foothold in the state, what it has been trying for a long time but somehow failed. Though Jayalalitha kept on supporting the NDA on many occasions in Parliament, BJP could not forge an electoral alliance with her party, AIADMK.

According to a state BJP vice president, the party has always been keen to increase its visibility in Tamil Nadu. “But this is a Herculean task. In the changed political situation, the party will definitely get a boost if a person like Rajnikanth agrees to join it. So far, he is silent. He should make up his mind. For him also, this is a good opportunity,” he pointed out.

The party strategy, in the wake of the ongoing political crisis, is to wait and watch. “We have no strength in the state Assembly. Yet we want the organisation to grow in the state. We feel that post-Jayalalithaa, a political vacuum has been created and BJP would like to fill in this vacuum,” said the state BJP vice president.

On the possible split in AIADMK, he said: “It is their internal matter. Since we do not have the numbers in Assembly, it hardly matters whom we support. But yes, we are concerned about the state’s development. O. Panneerselvam, as the Chief Minister, ran the state government well in the last two months.”

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