Tamil Nadu's ruling AIADMK hit out at South superstars Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan today, declaring that any political alliance between the two would look like "a cat and mouse living together." The party's caustic remark comes amid speculation of a blockbuster political realignment in the southern state with the actors-turned-politicians indicating their willingness to work together for Assembly elections scheduled for 2021. An article in AIADMK mouthpiece Namathu Amma claimed the two titans of Indian cinema could face problems working together, given Kamal Haasan's "rationalism and communism" and Rajinikanth's talk of "spiritual politics".
"Rajini, who has announced taking forward spiritual politics, joining hands with Kamal Haasan who talks about rationalism and communism would amount to a cat and mouse living together," the article said.
"Time will teach Rajini that a possible partnership with Haasan politically will not be fruitful," it continued.
The AIADMK write-up also targeted Kamal Haasan specifically, claiming that he was desperate not to lose to Rajinikanth in politics as he had in cinema.
Kamal Haasan launched his political party - Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) ahead of Lok Sabha polls earlier this year. Rajinikanth announced his entry into politics in December 2017; he said he would form his party before the 2021 election.
On Thursday both Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth, speaking independently of each other, said that if they were required to join forces for development of the state they would do so.
"Rajini and I will travel together if there is a need for Tamil Nadu's development. We are together for 43 years, we joining together is no miracle," Kamal Haasan said.
An hour later Rajinikanth, on his way to Goa, said: "If there is a situation that requires for the development of the Tamil people, I would join hands with Kamal Haasan".
Last week Rajinikanth, who recently rejected speculation that he was leaning towards the BJP, hit out at Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami, sarcastically describing him as a "wonder and marvel".
A potential alliance between two of the most popular actors in Tamil Nadu, a state that has a long history of movie stars enjoying successful careers in politics, has likely left the ruling AIADMK worried.
The party, which has allied with the BJP, suffered an embarrassing rout in Lok Sabha polls earlier this year; it also lost 13 of 22 Assembly seats up for bypolls at that time. It made up for some of that with wins in last month's bypoll, giving it a narrow six-seat majority.
However, in the article the AIADMK played down any such fears, claiming it had a "1.5 crore cadre base".