Will Rajinikanth ’s entry into politics kill the Dravidian parties?

The slow grind of the state has been long in coming

The entry of film star Rajinikanth assumes significance
The entry of film star Rajinikanth assumes significance

A formal alliance between Rajinikanth and BJP could hold the secret recipe for winning the election

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he political situation currently obtaining in Tamil Nadu is akin to a rudderless ship lost in a stormy sea. The splits in the ruling AIADMK, the naked power struggles among the feuding groups, the holding of MLAs at secret resorts, cancellation of the by-poll for the deceased chief minister’s constituency due to corruption, income tax raids on an incumbent state Chief Secretary and more – all have only made a laughing stock of the state.

After the passing away of Jayalalitha, under circumstances still shrouded in mystery, the state is largely on administrative paralysis

With all the drama and breaking news going on, the governance of the state does not appear to be on the agenda for the ruling party leaders. The state had a 62% deficit in monsoon rainfall as of December 2016. Further, the shortfall in Cauvery water receipts in 2016 has adversely impacted samba crop. The state’s own revenue (SOR) has shown sluggish growth thanks to years of populist schemes and handouts. The current state budget (2017-18) has a 2.9% revenue deficit i.e. of almost Rs. 16,000 crores. The government seems blissfully oblivious of the looming economic uncertainty as they are busy fighting for their political survival.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]A[/dropcap]fter the passing away of Jayalalitha, under circumstances still shrouded in mystery, the state is largely on administrative paralysis. The cause of this paralysis is only partly due to the splintering of the ruling AIADMK. The real culprit is the larger political and administrative ecosystem that has atrophied over the decades. The slow grind of the state has been long in coming. It is in this context of the state’s uneasy economic outlook and political disarray that the entry of film star Rajinikanth assumes significance.

But a brief review of the Dravidian politics over the last few decades that has eaten into the vitals of the state, will throw light on how the future is likely to play out. ‘Dravidian politics’ as we see today is a brain child of the old British divide and rule policy and has been spreading venom for decades disguised as a political ideology in South India. Based on the flawed and scientifically discarded Aryan invasion theory, it sought to divide the people into Dravidians or natives and non-Dravidians for short-term electoral gains. Regional separatism, anti-Hindi movement, rationalist movement etc. were thrown in to buttress this bogus ideology.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he resulting cocktail was, in essence, an unadulterated anti-national and anti-Hindu manifesto whose sole purpose was to fracture the polity and keep the divisions alive. The regimes of that two main Dravidian parties – that proffered varying shades of the above bogus ideology – is a shameless narrative of corruption, deception, loot, extortion, illicit businesses, voter fraud and what have you. It was a complete web of dishonesty that masqueraded as a political ideology, very much like the case in any other state in India.

Rajinikanth too will not have an easy path to the Chief Minister’s office. No doubt, in the current political conditions, he is a very charismatic leader who commands the biggest chunk of followers

The people who have long been desperately yearning for a genuine alternative were only given a Hobson’s choice – choosing between the lesser of two evils. The obvious casualty, over the years, has been the governance of the state. As a consequence, Tamil Nadu is today punching way below its weight in many areas nationally – infrastructure, healthcare, agricultural, digitization, GSDP or for that matter any developmental metric.

The ruling AIADMK dispensation is a house divided against itself and it is only a matter of time before it collapses like a house of cards. At the other end, the leading opposition party – the DMK is also in its last innings as a political entity. The party veteran, Karunanidhi, is 94 years old and in extremely poor health and unable to keep the party united. After Karunanidhi, political pundits expect a potential three-way split – one faction led by Stalin, the other by Alagiri and the rest by his daughter Kanimozhi together with party loyalists who would have nowhere else to go.

Apart from the steady erosion of public support due to anti-incumbency, it appears that the clean sweep by the BJP in the national elections of 2014 seems to have added to their discomfiture. The massive mandate in favor of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh is also a frightening development for the Dravidian parties since they know that the BJP is at their doorsteps.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]B[/dropcap]ut for the BJP, Fort St George in Chennai is still some distance away. It may have to wait its turn to run the state. For a safe entry, they have to tag along with a charismatic leader who is blessed with a mass appeal who can open the doors for them. Hence it makes perfect political sense for the BJP to align with Rajinikanth, at least for the time being or until he formally joins them.

Despite the shrill noises and entry barriers erected by the entrenched parties, Rajinikanth’s entry into politics has been widely welcomed. Many view it as probably the best thing that has happened to the state politics in decades.

However, Rajinikanth too will not have an easy path to the Chief Minister’s office. No doubt, in the current political conditions, he is a very charismatic leader who commands the biggest chunk of followers – hence votes – and could potentially emerge as the leader of the single largest party. But he has the onerous task of outwitting the entrenched political rivals. This could be a major challenge.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]B[/dropcap]ut therein lies the opportunity for the BJP to step in and assist Rajinikanth, at least in the initial days of its long war to win the rights to rule Tamilnadu. A formal alliance between Rajinikanth and BJP could hold the secret recipe for winning the election. Indications are that either Rajinikanth will join the BJP or form a party that will firmly align with the BJP. The latter seems most probable. However, a lot will depend on how the BJP and Rajinikanth succeed in putting up a good partnership.

A change definitely seems in the offing, but only after the Presidential elections. The central government will probably give some more time for the rudderless AIADMK to make a complete fool of themselves and earn the fullest disgust of the people. President’s rule in Tamil Nadu will be imposed most likely a few months after electing the new President of India.

The decimation of the Dravidian parties appears certain and may be just around the corner. But the urgent need of the hour is the rebuilding of the state’s economy, particularly the agricultural sector. A huge challenge awaits the new Chief Minister. Rajinikanth will have the opportunity to transform and rebuild a new and resurgent TamilNadu.

1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.


  1. This is the right time for a learned, qualified administrator to take charge. No film stars anymore please. BJP is getting its TN act totally wrong. A man who right from the beginning wants to play safe by naming everyone as a good leader and blaming only the system shows he is not mature to handle the affairs. Did Modi not make the existing system run by breaking status quo at all levels ? BJP seems to be living an illusion that Rajinikanth will be a vote puller and make a tectonic change in TN politics. As one of the articles of Aravind neelakantan pointed out, even without political power just with his clout as a super star,his family members have got opportunities that even experts in certain fields have not. BJP is getting its judgement totally wrong in case of TN.

  2. The article grossly underplays the vote bank of Stalin which is close to 30 percent….if elections are held immediately he wud sweep the state with thumping majority…..also considering the cadre strength of DMK Rajni will have an uphill task upstaging stalin

  3. It seems Swami has forgotten what the Late great TN Leader Kamaraj told him personally when he was young in his Delhi residence. i.e “You can crack jokes,attract North/Hindi people via abuses/Gaali in Hindi and all such gimmicks/stories etc but remember your destiny is in TamilNadu and you can play important role in the state if only you be sensible and give up such crap/BS* you are doing right now playing to the galleries of North folks in hindi”.
    Can Swamy and pgurus (which is a mere extension of Swamy twitter handle run by few admirers of him) place their hearts and tell if what i wrote was true or not and that above was documented in Swamy chronicles in old Janata website by Swamy himself . hence above cannot be denied/rubbished and hope Swamy behaves sensibly hereafter and not as mere conspiracy/noise maker .

  4. I fully agree with thangadurai. Rajinikanth can and will be another vijayakanth. I think bjp is getting some real bad advice and I’m surprised that people at the national level are not able to figure it out. Bjp needs to create or invent it’s charismatic leader, piggy backing on rajinikanth will no way help them to get a foot hold in the state. First, they should get rid off thamizhisai and get someone like mafoi rajendran to lead the state for now. Mr.gurumurthy should put his ear to the ground before he begins his next round of rajinikanth promotion.

  5. Dear Pgurus..
    Great insight regarding the TN political scenario. Seems all other state politics are done on social and people welfare schemes where in only TN politcs is disgrace to India..
    One thing is for sure.. situation in TN is not like 80’s where in any insane filmstar can become CM..If rajini enters politics he will be another vijaykanth who will become fodder for meme creators and news channels.

    where was he when chennai was flooded or during last year varda cyclone. what has he done to people of TN except for usurping hard earned money of youth in the name of movie tickets.

    PGURUS be responsible and sensible. As a media u r supposed to bring to light correct persons who will work for people welfare & TN progress. Not to act as BJP cyber projecting Rajini as CM even for analysis.


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