Every time Rajinikanth opens his mouth, a million tongues start wagging. A few who met the superstar after his exhortation to fans in May to be prepared for a ‘war’ have predicted his entry into politics, but none of them carries the weight of SGurumurthy. The RSS ideologue and Thuglak’s editor tells SatyaMevJayates that the actor is most likely to take the political plunge. “I am a friend (of Rajini), not advisor,” says Gurmurthy, who feels more than half the voting population of the state is looking for an alternative, and Rajini can be the next MGR of Tamil Nadu politics. Excerpts:
Rajinikanth has indicated he may enter politics. What do you think?
The relevance of Rajinikanth is because of the distance developing between Dravidian politics and Tamil Nadu people. My calculation is that out of the 35% votes which AIADMK has been getting, 15% to 16% votes are anti-DMK votes. So, all along AIADMK’s own vote base was about 20%. When I met Congress leader K Kamaraj, he said our party will get 41%, DMK 42% and if M G Ramachandran takes away 10% from the DMK, Congress will be winners. I disagreed with Kamaraj. Then MGR had issued a statement saying he will meet ‘the big leader’ (Kamaraj). The same day or following day he was thrown out of the DMK. He was not thinking of floating a party at that time. I told Kamaraj please accept him. He said ‘no’.
MGR was in Congress before he joined DMK, wasn’t he?
Yes. I told Kamaraj if MGR takes away a sizeable number of DMK votes, he will look more anti-DMK than us, and he will gather huge crowds. So, if our anti-DMK votes go, then we will not be able to retain this 41%. This was my logic that I explained to Kamaraj. He said, “When I am there will people think MGR can defeat DMK?” MGR won the Dindigul byelection, Congress got reduced exactly by 14% and DMK votes got reduced by 20%. AIADMK got 36%. If you add the reduction in Congress votes and reduction in DMK votes that becomes the AIADMK vote bank. That dictated the course of Tamil Nadu elections from that time till today. So, 45% of the votes put together are the votes of the AIADMK and the DMK; people not committed to these parties constitute more than half of TN population, and they are looking for someone who can defeat them. They have nobody to rally around. They have been either fed up or fatigued with both these parties on various counts. That is where Rajinikanth will become relevant.
The same Dindigul formula?
Definitely. But, Dindigul formula worked in a different way. DMK chief M Karunanidhi was becoming a hate-figure at that time because he threw out MGR. Context is also important. Let us assume that MGR had resigned from the DMK and formed the AIADMK, he couldn’t have clicked. He had to be thrown out. That creates the context. So, the fatigue or philosophical distance which has been developing in the last 25 years between the Dravidian forces and the Tamil Nadu people provides the entry point for a popular person.
But no one seems confident about Rajinikanth taking the political plunge.
That is because right from 1996, for 20 years, he has kept the people in suspense. But, this is the first time he has talked about his being in politics, which I consider as very significant. Otherwise he wouldn’t have spoken. He sees a gap between the Dravidian parties and people, and there is a vacuum in leadership because there is virtually no leadership in the AIADMK. That is unless all these people try to build O Panneerselvam as a leader. Stalin is yet to emerge as a leader within the DMK. They are not midgets, but they are certainly of a secondary order. If Rajinikanth comes and if he has proper guidance, if he uses proper language, if he puts up a proper agenda, he may be able to make a huge difference to TN politics. The youth, particularly, are not getting attracted to either the AIADMK or the DMK. He may be able to attract the youth, particularly the educated, who are keeping out of politics.
Are you advising him?
He has better advisers. Why should I advise him? I am his friend.
As a friend, what have you told him?
I told him it was his decision. That is the difference between Cho Ramasamy and me. Cho always insisted that he should come. I always believe the most momentous decision a person has to take in his life should come from himself, or else he won’t own the decision. So, I told him it is his decision, his inner call, after all, he is a spiritually evolved person and knows how to take decisions. So, I am very clear, I will not interfere in what he should do.
Do you think he has the guts to take that decision?
Do you see him aligning with BJP?