BJP pursues Rajinikanth, Khushboo

  • Jayalalithaa’s arrest creates political vacuum
  • DMK, AIADMK bogged down in corruption cases
  • Saffron party keen on gaining foothold in TN

(Kasipathi)

rajinikanth 1New Delhi, September 6: Is Tamil superstar Rajinikanth likely to support the BJP in 2016 Assembly elections? After Jayalalithaa was lodged in a Bangalore jail, rumours making rounds say that the saffron party is keen on taking the actor into its fold to fill the vacuum created by the absence of the AIADMK supremo. Khushbhoo, the star of yesteryears, is also being persuaded by local politicians to join the BJP.

There are celebrities who were elated at Prime Minister Narendra Modi naming them as ambassadors of ‘Clean India Campaign’ (Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan) on October 2 and those who were piqued at not being named. Mani Shankar Aiyar is, perhaps, the only political leader who expressed happiness at not being invited by Modi. Sashi Tharroor, Mani’s colleague in the Congress, said he was honoured to be in the list. However, famous but controversial actor Khushboo is among the celebrities who liked the idea of a clean India. She tweeted her support to the campaing. She said every Indian should strive to keep his country clean. The local BJP leaders in Tamil Nadu are not averse to inviting the actor to join their party. Modi had invited Kamal Hasan, the Tamil actor who is celebrated for his histrionic talents, to join the celebrities who are named as ambassadors of the campaign. But the Prime Minister appears to be interested in inviting the other superstar Rajinikant into his party to capture the Southern state. Rajini has a very good rapport with Narendra Modi. The prime ministerial candidate of the BJP met the superstar in Chennai as part of the electioneering in the May general elections.

Sensing a political opportunity in Tamil Nadu after the most popular leader in the state J Jayalalithaa was convicted in a corruption case, the BJP national leadership is toying with the idea of luring the Tamil super star Rajiniikanth into the party. It has intensified its efforts towards making the superstar fall in line. Tamilsai Soundararajan, President of the BJP state unit, posed the idea to Lata Rajinikant, wife of the superstar, when she visited their residence to greet on the eve of Navarathri festival. Rajini was away shooting for his next film ‘Linga’. Ms Soundararajan went to Rajini’s residence at the invitation of his wife according to sources. She invited Rajinikant for the release of a book on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Senior BJP imagine that the situation in Tamil Nadu is ripe to rope in a celebrity like Rajinikant so that the party can make a mark in the Sourthern State in the forthcoming Assembly elections. With the DMK leader M Karunanidhi in his ripe old age unable to travel, both his sons at loggerheads and the Congress not in a position to take advantage of the situation, the BJP hopes to break the hold of the regional parties on the State. Both the DMK and the AIADMK are facing corruption charges and are unable take a fresh political initiative. The loss of AIADMK is not going to be the gain of the DMK. Rajinikant supported the DMK-TMC (of Karupayya Moopanar) in 1996. The actor’s support would give a great boost to the BJP. Amit Shah, BJP’s national president, is also reported to be contemplating the induction of the superstar into the party.

The question of Khushboo joining the BJP is only in the realm of imagination. The actor herself said she is not in a hurry to take a decision. She said she should not join the party and later repent for doing so if the position and importance given to her are not satisfactory. Khushboo Sundar was a member of the DMK and left the party on June 16 this year. She was unhappy for not being rewarded for the hard work she did for the party. She had differences with Stalin, son of Karunanidhi and the future face of the party.

The national leadership of the BJP is a bit weary of asking film personalities to join the party. Earlier, the party leaders seriously courted actor Sivakumar and met his son Surya but nothing worthwhile happened afterwards. Modi himself actively wooed Rajinikanth, but the superstar only expressed his wish that the party should do well and nothing more than that. Khushboo is watching the political scenario to know which way the tide would turn. She would probably take a decision after a cool deliberation since she is keen on taking a plunge before the 2016 Assembly elections. “I don’t want to join anyone in a hurry and later find out that either we have an ideological mismatch or there is no growth there”, said Khushboo.

If both Rajinikanth and Khushboo are roped in, the BJP would be able to make waves in Tamil Nadu. Both the stars are keeping the BJP leaders guessing.

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