Rajinikanth announced that he would not join politics after all after being hospitalized briefly.
Days after Rajinikanth opted out of politics citing his health, his team has said members of his Rajini Makkal Mandram are free to resign and join other parties. The statement comes after some district chiefs of the megastar's outfit joined Tamil Nadu's main opposition party DMK today.
"They shouldn't forget they are always Rajini fans even if they join other parties," the Rajini Makkal Mandram said today.
The assertion was read by many as a sign that the BJP can no longer count on Rajinikanth's support, tacitly or otherwise, in the Tamil Nadu election due by May. Some in the BJP, which has an alliance with the state's ruling AIADMK, had hoped the superstar would support the party even after bowing out of active politics.
Rajinikanth, 70, on the brink of launching his political party, announced last month that he would not join politics after all. This was after he was hospitalized briefly for blood pressure fluctuations in Hyderabad, where his film shoot was stopped because of Covid infections among the crew.
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."
He added: "My hospitalisation was a warning given by God. My campaign will impact health amid the pandemic."
Days later, he also appealed to his fans to stop pressuring him with protests and "not pain me again and again".
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."
Even after Rajinikanth dropped his political plans, a BJP leader talked about reaching out to him.
CT Ravi, the BJP leader in charge of Tamil Nadu, said Rajinikanth had always protected the nation's and Tamil Nadu's interests. "He is a great leader." On seeking his support, he said, "I hope we will ask him....Everyone knows how close Modi Ji (Narendra Modi) and Rajinikanth are."