‘Ra’masamy, ‘Ra’jini, Ramayya: Is TN’s political landscape changing?

Chennai: ‘Aanmeegam‘ and ‘Arasiyal‘ have always been two different things in Tamilnadu. So, when Rajinikanth said he would do ‘aanmega arasiyal‘, many criticised him for trying to mix religion with politics and predicted that it would not work. But, with his press meet that lasted for just two minutes Tuesday, the actor has shaken and stirred the political landscape of Tamilnadu by touching something which has not been attempted by anyone in these parts so far.

Irrespective of party lines, E V Ramasamy, better known as Periyar, is ‘worshipped’ by Dravidian politicos of Tamilnadu and none of them dared to question his ideologies or criticise the acts of his or his followers. Left with no other option all these decades, the majority of people here, who are theists, voted for atheist leaders despite their ‘anti-Hindu’ words and deeds. But with Rajinikanth, they have apparently found someone who would not do appeasement politics by pleasing someone and hurting the other just for the sake of votes.

In the ‘superstar’, they see a leader who would treat all religions equal, point out when something is wrong and call a spade a spade, even if it is Periyar’s. Proving this is the huge support the actor has been receiving from people from various backgrounds.

From Tuesday till Thursday, hashtags supporting him- #IStandWithRajinikanth, #TNwithRajinikath #MannippuKetkaMudiyathu were trending on social media. Memes hailing his refusal to apologise for the comments he had made on a rally by EVR in 1971, in which Lord Ram, Sita and other Hindu Gods were insulted, have flooded Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram. The support on the ground is even more overwhelming if inputs from Reporters from across Tamilnadu are anything to go by.

“From the 1990s, many in the State wanted Rajini to enter politics. Their grouse was only that he did not take the political plunge. Now that he has almost jumped the fray that too by taking a bold stand, they are supporting him,” says Ravithej, a professor and political analyst.

Rajini, sources say, will formally float his political party in the second half of 2020 and will face 2021 Assembly elections. So, taking a cue from his own dialogue in Petta, ‘tharamana, sirappana sambavangal‘ are bound to happen in the months to come.

M Bhaskar Sai