Superstar Rajinikanth delivered his first public address since his political entry in December. The actor inaugurated a statue of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MG Ramachandran at the Dr MGR Educational and Research Institute in Chennai today, where he will speak to students and may even take a few questions from them. About 5,000 people, mostly students and fans are present at the venue. On December 31, Rajinikanth had announced he would launch a party and contest in all 234 assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu. He had also clarified that he would launch the party after elections are announced in the state. Whether to contest the Lok Sabha polls in 2019, he said he will take a call later.
Here are the highlights of Rajinikanth's address:
Rajinikanth: "When I built the Raghvendra wedding hall, there was an order to stop construction. My staff and me weren't given appointment. Many advised me to contact MGR. MGR expedited and in three days we got the NOC. It was MGR who made the wedding hall possible. Some say I'm trying to draw MGR loyalists. Student stage is the best part of your life, also most trying. If u study in these four years only, your 40 year life would be good."
Rajinikanth: "He (MGR) brought power and free noon meal scheme to schools. I first met MGR in 1973. Later, I met in 1975 on the sets."
Rajinikanth: "Using technology and good advisers and talented people I can deliver good governance. They ask why I didn't enter when Jayalalithaa was ruling. Fear? I don't have to remind what happened in 1996. Many say all can't become MGR. Yes, none can become MGR. When there were two strong leaders, Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi, there was no vacuum."
"I don't expect a red carpet welcome. But why mock and discourage? Politics is strewn with thorns and snakes," said Rajinikanth.
Rajinikanth: "Many say actors shouldn't enter politics... I tell them, I do my work properly. But you haven't done your work properly. I've learnt some politics moving with Karunanidhi, Moopanar and Cho."
"Last time I could not unveil an MGR statue but this time he was firm. I wanted to avoid speaking politics. But I shall speak some politics," Rajinikanth said.
Rajinikanth: "AC Shanmugam is one among many who wanted me to enter politics. AC Shanmugam was drawn by MGR; he became MP and MLA."
Many stars and directors who acted with MGR are being given awards at the event
On December 31, he said that he will take decision only after elections are called in Tamil Nadu. He had then he would contest in all 234 assembly constituencies in the next elections due in 2021.
Political observers are keenly watching whether he will make any announcement in terms of the launch of his party or name of party
There are about 5000 to 6000 people in the hall where Rajinikanth will speak and about an equal number are in an adjacent auditorium and will watch the speech on a giant screen.
Rajinikanth's fans have put hundreds of posters along the highway, from Chennai to this area.
The actor arrived at the Dr MGR Educational and Research Institute in an Audi SUV, waving to fans gathered outside through the car's sunroof. There are about 5,000 people gathered at the university, mostly students and fans.
Some 5,000 people are in a packed auditorium. Another 5,000 people outside are watching Rajinikanth from outside the venue.
Actor Rajinikanth unveiled a statue of MG Ramachandran at MGR Educational and Research Institute.
This will be Rajinikanth's first public speech after he announced his decision to enter politics in December, and there is intense speculation on whether he will reveal some of his political plans days after Tamil Nadu's other superstar Kamal Haasan announced his party's name and agenda.
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