Updated: Dec 12, 2020, 23:14 IST
Actor Rajinikanth turned 70 on Saturday and his birthday cake bore a clear message – now or never, dropping a big hint at his political move. Last week, the Tamil superstar said on Twitter that he will launch his political party in January next year to contest in the upcoming Tamil Nadu Assembly elections and the date will be announced on December 31.
Birthday wishes poured in for the megastar, including one from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader MK Stalin and a host of celebrities from the film fraternity, industrialists, cricketers shared their photos with the star.
The Rajnikanth fan club put out messages on social media that it was now or never for him to take political plunge and said they were all ready to ensure his political success.
Rajinikanth’s political debut brings a new dimension into Tamil Nadu’s politics which has been dominated by the DMK and the AIMK.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is trying hard to make its presence felt in the state and has favoured Rajinikanth. Also in the fray is Rajinikanth’s contemporary Kamal Haasan, whose Makkal Needhi Maiam comes with an experience of contesting the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
In the last three days, Rajinikanth held consultations with Tamilaruvi Manian, the supervisor for the yet to be launched party, and R Arjunamurthy, who was made party coordinator after he quit the BJP.
“We discussed how to strengthen the party at the ground level,” said Manian. Rajinikanth will leave for Hyderabad where shooting resumes on December 15 for his upcoming film ‘Annatthe’ produced by Karunanidhi’s grandnephew Kalanidhi Maran under the Sun Pictures banner.
“I’ve made a commitment and I’ve 40% shooting left to be completed,” Rajinikanth had said earlier. He will return to the city to announce on December 31 the date of his party’s launch.
Several fans gathered in front of the actor’s house in Chennai dressing up as Rajinikanth-look alikes and wearing shirts with his image. A political extension of his fan club, Rajini Makkal Mandram, which engages in party work, will partake in charity work on his birthday as they do annually.
The Tamil actor’s cult following transcends borders with a fan base across the world who have waited for him to make the political plunge for decades. Three years after Rajinikanth said that he will enter politics, he is yet to launch his party. He underwent a kidney transplant in 2016.
The actor has now confirmed that his party will contest in all 234 seats in Tamil Nadu’s assembly. But questions remain if Rajinikanth will enter the fray as the chief ministerial candidate. So far, his stance has been that while he governs the party, he would pick a young and educated candidate for the top job.