Chennai: Superstar Rajinikanth on Sunday announced his political debut and said he will launch his own party which will contest all 234 constituencies in the next Assembly polls in Tamil Nadu.
The announcement ends two decades of speculation over the entry of the actor, who enjoys cult status in Tamil cinema, in the political arena. "I am joining politics and it is for sure," said the actor clad in a spotless white kurta and sporting a grey beard, amid thunderous applause from fans.
Batting for honesty in politics and good governance, he said, "everything needs to be changed" and declared that "spiritual politics" needs to be ushered in, sans shades of any caste or religion with transparency.
"This is my motto and desire," he said and appealed to people to support him in his venture adding it was not possible to do it alone.
Here's how some of the celebrities reacted:
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said, "One more film star is entering politics, so what is the fuss about? Maybe he has got good media managers. It is just a joke. He said he will announce the party later. He is a film star and he said he can eliminate corruption. Can film stars even eliminate corruption? What will he do for Tamil Nadu? He has no details or documents, he is illiterate."
"I congratulate my brother Rajini for his social consciousness and his political entry. Welcome welcome," said actor Kamal Haasan.
My best wishes to @superstarrajini on his decision to join politics. With a political vacuum to fill & favourable conditions, i'm sure #Rajinikanthpoliticalentry will bring the much needed change to Tamil Nadu.
— B.S. Yeddyurappa (@BSYBJP) December 31, 2017
T 2758 - My dear friend , my colleague and a humble considerate human, RAJNIKANTH, announces his decision to enter politics .. my best wishes to him for his success !! pic.twitter.com/dByrmlZb2c
— Amitabh Bachchan (@SrBachchan) December 31, 2017
— Anupam Kher (@AnupamPkher) December 31, 2017
I wish my good friend @superstarrajini the very best. I am sure he will be the much needed Change.
— Mohan Babu M (@themohanbabu) December 31, 2017
Asserting that he will not tolerate nepotism or under the table dealings, Rajinikanth said, "I want volunteers who will keep vigil and who will not go to any officials, ministers or MPs, or MLAs for selfish needs."
Such 'volunteers' should question whoever commit mistakes, he said adding he needed only such people for his party. "I am only a representative of the people to monitor such vigilantes," Rajinikanth said.
He said such a force of selfless volunteers who will act as not cadres but as 'vigilantes' was needed and it should be built.
The actor said the first task would be streamlining the existing registered and unregistered fan clubs across the state.
He appealed to his fans to bring all sections of people into the club so that it could transform into a party and "till then there is no need to indulge in political talk which includes me."
"Politics and democracy have gone pretty bad," Rajinikanth said and added some political incidents in the past one year in Tamil Nadu has made every Tamilian hang his head in shame and people of all other states were "laughing at us."
(With PTI inputs)