Superstar Rajinikanth today said he has "never imagined myself as Chief Minister" and that he "only want change". His statements come ahead of the Tamil Nadu assembly election next year and almost after two years since he first announced the timeline for his party's launch.
"I had the opportunity in 1996 and did not take it up at 45. If I do it now, I would be called a fool," Rajinikanth, 69, said in Tamil, revealing the much-anticipated 'trailer' of his political party at a press meet at Chennai's Hotel Leela Palace.
Referring to the 2021 polls, he said he would be 71 by then and that it would not be possible that the opportunity for change would come later, when he was much older, referring to the subsequent elections.
"I have never imagined myself as Chief Minister. I cannot think of myself in the assembly, it is just not possible. I will be the party chief.
I know that for many of my supporters and well-wishers, this is not acceptable. But I cannot have it any other way. What is the meaning of my spiritual politics, if I come to politics to be Chief Minister," Rajinikanth said.
"I only want a change in politics... If change in politics and government does not happen now, it will never happen," he added.
Rajinikanth also clarified that he had publicly announced his intention to enter politics only on December 31, 2017, even though people keep making a reference to 1996 and say he has been having political ambitions ever since.
The other big takeaways from his press meet was that Rajinikanth, always known to be diplomatic, made a reference to be the two "jambavangal" (character from Ramayana) in Tamil Nadu who had dominated the political scene for the last 50 years or so. He made a reference to the money power of the ruling AIADMK and said the other party (DMK) was in waiting, hoping to cash in on the legacy of a leader who is no more.
"There were two stalwarts in our politics, one was Jayalalithaa and one was Kalaignar (M Karunanidhi). 70 per cent of the votes were for the leaders Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa respectively and not for the parties. People must recognise that. Now, the time has come to displace them and to establish a new political culture," he said.
There was no announcement of a party name, a flag or a logo but Rajinikanth put the onus of resurgence on the people desirous of change. He said he would be inviting the younger generation that comprised 65 per cent of the population to come forward and join hands with him. He would also personally invite former IAS and IPS officers, and other intellectuals, who comprise 35 per cent of the population to bring their experience to help the party, so that a new political culture can be established.
The actor said his proposal includes appointing an "educated and compassionate youngster" as the Chief Minister. "There will be different heads for party and possible government headed by it," he said.
There was no reference to either the BJP, to whom Rajinikanth has often been linked in Tamil Nadu or to Kamal Haasan, who launched his political party in 2018. In November last year, both Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan had indicated their willingness to work together politically, triggering speculation that they could turn the Tamil Nadu assembly elections into a blockbuster of sorts.
After he ended his address, Rajinikanth refused to take any questions, saying that would dilute his message and what he had wanted to convey.