- On BJP's invitation to join politics, actor Rajinikanth did not comment
- He didn't say "no", hence there is scramble to read between the lines
- Last year, rumours swirled that he could float a new party backed by BJP
His comment today, or the lack of it, is being seen by some as setting up a second career once he retires from the movies. Others see it as an evasive answer to ease pressure from an eager BJP.
Rumours swirled earlier this year that the actor could float a new party backed by the BJP, which is seeking to deepen its footprint in Tamil Nadu ahead of the 2019 national election and sees the opportunity to fill the void left by former chief minister J Jayalalithaa amid a bitter power struggle in her party, the ruling AIADMK, after her death in December last year.
At his meeting with fans on Monday, Rajinikanth, 66, also warned them "not to be disappointed if I don't join politics," describing as a blunder his decision almost 20 years ago to support a DMK-led alliance in the Tamil Nadu assembly elections in 1996.
"If Jayalalithaa is voted back to power, even God cannot save Tamil Nadu," the superstar had famously said. The DMK's alliance had swept the election and the actor's comments were seen to have contributed heavily to Ms Jayalalithaa's big loss.
"I made a mistake by supporting a political alliance 21 years ago. It was a political accident. Since then, politicians have misused my name on several occasions. But I have to clarify, I'm not joining any party," Rajinikanth told his fans on Monday.
MK Stalin of the DMK said Rajini's fans want him to enter politics, but "it is his wish whether to do so or not".
Rajinikanth's meet-and greet with fans continued for a third day today at Chennai's Raghavendra wedding hall. He has since Monday met around three thousand fans who have waited in queues for up to three hours for a photograph.