TEAMING UP… Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth say they can work together in politics; BJP likely ally

CHENNAI: Superstars Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan have indicated that they were ready to “work together” for further development of Tamil Nadu, opening up a possibility that they would make their presence felt in a forceful way in the 2021 assembly polls. Rajini with his strong backward class base and Kamal Haasan with his Brahmin support can, together, be a winning combination in Tamil Nadu politics.

Expectations are that the BJP will tie up with Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan in the political arena. The BJP in Tamil Nadu is cautious against siding with pro-Brahmin and pro-forward caste entities because of their low numerical strengths. 

Kamal Haasan stated first about such a possibility, and the response from Rajinikanth came the same day, just hours later. Both said that, for them, the development of Tamil Nadu was of prime importance. Both are strongly against corruption, something in which both the Dravidian parties, the AIDMK and the DMK are notorious for. The IT department had, a fortnight ago, attached benami assets worth Rs 1,600crore of Sasikala Natarajan, a close associate of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa, who herself had amassed huge wealth and faced jail term in corruption cases before her demise in 2016 December.

The present AIADMK dispensation led by Edappadi K Palaniswami and his deputy chief minister O Pannerselvam are also hugely corrupt as per allegations relating to their huge wealth multiplication games. The main support base for the DMK is the backward communities while the AIADMK had enjoyed the support of BCs, Dalits, Muslims and more notably the Brahmins, as Jayalalithaa was a Brahmin and took care of their interests. After the demise of Jayalalithaa, the Brahmin community was looking around for a political leader, and Kamal Haasan stepped in on an anti-corruption plank.

Brahmins however form only five per cent of the state’s population while the forward communities totally number only 10 per cent. This is reason why Kamal Haasan on his own could not make much of a mark in politics after he announced formation of a party Makkal Needhi Maiam in February, 2018. Three months before this, in December 2017, Rajinikanth had announced he would form a party, but he is still to take matters forward. 

Apart from community support, both Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan have fan clubs who will form the base for their parties in election campaigns. As of now, the DMK seems having an upper hand in state politics, while the ruling AIADMK is steadily losing its popularity. The jailing of Sasikala added to the AIADMK’s troubles after Jayalalithaa’s demise. 

Palanisamy and Pannerselvam represent two numerically strong backward communities, which could be to their advantage, but only to an extent. If the matinee idols enter the electoral fray, it could change the course of Tamil politics into new directions. –IHN-NN


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