- "No party should use my picture, logo" for any propaganda: Rajinikanth
- He urged people to vote for party that'll solve Tamil Nadu's water crisis
- Announcement comes as ruling AIADMK, BJP are all set to forge an alliance
Actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth, ending months of speculation and suspense, on Sunday declared that he would not contest the upcoming general elections or support anyone.
In a statement, he said, "I'm not going to contest in Lok Sabha elections. Our target is assembly elections. My support is not for any party. Hence no party should use my photo or my outfit's logo in campaign."
He also asked people to examine and vote for a party that would form a strong government and implement schemes to solve Tamil Nadu's water crisis permanently. The 765-km long Cauvery river, also called the "Ganga of the south", is the lifeline for Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The distribution of water between the southern neighbours has been a contentious issue for decades.
Rajinikanth, 68, had announced his entry into politics in December 2017 and merged his made fan clubs to form Rajini Makkal Mandram (Rajini People's Forum). Since then, there has been much speculation about his possible political alliances. He had then said his party would contest in all seats for the Tamil Nadu assembly polls.
The Tamil superstar was seen by some as leaning towards the ruling BJP at the centre, with the BJP sharing a picture of his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Rajinikanth, many say, is avoiding a repeat of the same.
He had assured his followers that his politics will be "spiritual" and that it will be based on "honesty and truthfulness".
Both Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, the other noted actor from southern cinema to turn to politics, have stepped into the political void left in Tamil Nadu after the death of former Chief Minister and AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa. Kamal Hassan's Makkal Needhi Maiam (People's Justice Centre) has decided to contest the Lok Sabha polls, due by May, on its own after toying with the idea of an alliance with like-minded parties. TTV Dhinakaran-led Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) is also likely to contest alone in the election.
Rajinikanth's announcement comes as the ruling AIADMK and the BJP are all set to forge an alliance in Tamil Nadu for the approaching election.
Tamil Nadu has 39 parliament seats. In the 2014 polls, the AIADMK won 37 of the 39 seats, the BJP alliance won two and the DMK suffered a washout. This will be the first major electoral contest in the state after the death of Jayalalithaa and M Karunanidhi of the DMK.