Actor Rajinikanth, who made a stunning about-turn and dropped his political plans last month, appealed to his fans today to stop pressuring him with protests and "not pain me again and again".
The 70-year-old put out a statement on social media after his fans organised a protest yesterday urging him to withdrawn his decision to opt out of politics.
"I have explained reasons for my inability (to enter politics) in detail. I have conveyed my decision. Please don't pain me again and again asking me to enter politics by organising such events," Rajinikanth said, berating his fans for "defying" his wish.
"Some of my fans along with expelled cadres of Rajini Makkal Mandram have held the event in Chennai defying the leadership's instructions."
In December, Rajinikanth, on the brink of launching his political party after years of speculation, backed out citing his health.
"My hospitalisation was a warning given by God. My campaign will impact health amid the pandemic," he said, days after he was hospitalized for blood pressure fluctuations during a shoot in Hyderabad.
Before that, the megastar was all set to reveal his political party plan on New Year's Eve. "It is now or never," he had said on December 3, after meeting with his closest advisers and amid similar demonstrations by his fans urging him not to delay his political plans.
Two days after his discharge from hospital, he put out a statement saying: "With extreme sadness I say that I can't enter politics. I alone know the pain I went through while announcing this decision. Without entering electoral politics, I will serve the people. This decision of mine will disappoint my fans and people but please forgive me."
Rajinikanth's debut in politics had been anticipated by his supporters for nearly 25 years and only recently, with months to the Tamil Nadu election, he had indicated he was finally ready.
But reports of his reluctance emerged in October, when he said he was advised by doctors to stay away from the heat and dust of a campaign. Responding to rumours triggered by a leaked letter, he admitted that doctors had warned him that his immunity had been weakened after a renal transplant, which made him more susceptible to the coronavirus.
Rajinikanth's reassertion is seen as a clear message to political parties that they must not nurture any hope of securing his support or endorsement for the approaching election. The BJP in Tamil Nadu had long banked on direct or tacit support by the veteran actor, who is credited with turning the tide against the ruling AIADMK in the 1996 polls with one comment: "If Jayalalithaa is voted back to power, even God cannot save Tamil Nadu."
Fellow actor Kamal Haasan, who launched his political party in 2018, had recently announced that he would actively seek Rajinikanth's support.