Rajini announced will not start his own party
Rajini’s (Superstar Rajinikanth) announcement of not starting his own party has been a bombshell to his supporters and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), relief to Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (ADMK), and disappointment to smaller parties who wanted to use his entry as a bargain option with DMK/ ADMK.
In my humble opinion, this may be a very wise decision. A dispassionate reflection of Rajini’s decision will reveal the following:
1. Rajini may have been genuinely concerned that, if he started his own party, and something adverse happened to him, either before or within a short time after elections, but before second-line leadership within the party had stabilized, there would be all-round confusion, and jockeying for power, regardless of whether his party wins or not. In such a case, he would have created a bigger problem for his supporters and for the people of Tamilnadu.
Even in the case of films, Rajini faced many flops despite his knowledge of the pulse of the film market; state election is a much bigger challenge.
One may ask whether he did not think of this earlier or at least on Dec 3. There are many possible explanations, acceptable or not, like he may have decided to take the chance, but his hospitalization in Hyderabad may have made him rethink.
2. Most people still seem to be unaware of the precariousness of his health condition. Even assuming his health is not as bad, if he had started his own party, we have no clue what master plan he had to come to power and change the system.
Probabilistically, the chances of his success in elections didn’t appear great unless he was willing to make a lot of political compromises attracting strong and powerful opposition politicians. In such a case, people would not have believed he could reform the system and voted for him in the required large numbers.
So, his chances of defeat would have been high. He may have ended up getting DMK to power with a huge majority because he would have got more pro-ADMK votes than pro-DMK votes. Even in the case of films, he faced many flops despite his knowledge of the pulse of the film market; state election is a much bigger challenge.
3. Even assuming he had come to power, changing the system would not have been easy at all, which Narendra Modi himself has come to realize to his disillusionment, despite his best of intentions, no distractions like family, phenomenal popular support, many years of having been CM, etc.
So, the chances of his wish to come to power and give a clean administration were almost negligible.
Rajini is a well-meaning actor who may now have any ideas of what to do, but a huge army of supporters.
Hence, I think his decision to pull out of the electoral race, especially after years of prevarication, is very sensible.
But yes, after having given hopes and promises, he has disappointed his fans and undecided voters who may have been willing to support him. Many, including some of his own supporters, are making fun of him. It’s good that he’s willing to take these criticisms in his stride and move on.
What next? Is there a way Rajini can still make a difference to Tamilnadu and even national politics, and make the best of the bad situation?
Dr Abdul Kalam once asked his audience, “How many of you would like to collaborate and work with me?” Almost the entire audience put up their hands. He asked, “Are you all sure?” All said in a chorus, “Yes”. Then he said, “ok, come join me in the project of nation-building. There are crores of vacancies, and there are very few takers. A place for each of you is assured.”
This was no joke; he really meant it.
Mahatma Gandhi was not into electoral politics; he did not become the PM but wielded much more personal power among the people than J Nehru as PM did.
Swami Vivekananda also said, “Give me 100 energetic young men and I shall transform India.”
Am I equating Rajini to Dr Kalam, Mahatma Gandhi and Swami Vivekananda? The answer is No. They were well-meaning people who had ideas, but not enough followers. Rajini is a well-meaning actor who may now have any ideas of what to do, but a huge army of supporters. He can easily string together a team of great people, each a specialist in one’s own realm, with excellent ideas but no teams to execute their ideas.
So, Rajini can start an array of connected organizations at the grassroots levels, each headed by competent leaders with transformative goals and ideas, supported by his fan clubs and willing well-meaning supporters.
Since there are no posts with perks up for grabs, there will be very little scope for corruption, and hence very little competition, Rajini can undertake transformative projects that would use his supporters and benefit the state and the nation, much more than by starting a political party or becoming CM. There are limitations to what a CM or ruling party can do, but there is no limit to what a nationalist-minded movement can do.
If Rajini had come to power, the chances of his party going astray, during and after his lifetime, were very high, whereas the chances of his movement going astray are much lower.
One may argue, there are already so many social services and social work organizations across the country. How will one more make a difference?
No other organization has such a tall leader. No other organization has such popular support at grassroots levels, in rural and urban areas. In fact, not making use of his goodwill, being such a well-meaning person that he is, will be a tragedy. Thinking of it as Rajini Makkal Narpani Manram is extremely limiting; he should think much, much bigger.
What exactly can Rajini do next? We will see in the follow-up article…
To be continued…
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.