Actor-politician Kamal Haasan is looking to ask superstar Rajinikanth for support as he prepares to fight the assembly election in Tamil Nadu this year. The chief of Makkal Needhi Maiam is expecting a big boost in support if Rajinikanth, who has cancelled his political plans citing health concerns, lends a helping hand when he makes a frontal assault on well-established parties in the election.
"I will seek Rajinikanth's support. Any goodwill will help and he is a friend. People will have to take sides now and endorse those who have something different to offer. It's a battle between honesty and corruption," Mr Haasan told NDTV on Wednesday.
Mr Haasan's direct approach to Rajinikanth now is a concrete change from his position last month when he said he would be willing to work with the superstar if their political ideologies are in sync. There appears to be no condition set by Mr Haasan for seeking Rajinikanth's support this time around since the superstar has announced he would not enter politics.
"With extreme sadness I say that I can't enter politics. I alone know the pain I went through while announcing this decision," Rajinikanth said in a statement on December 29, two days after his discharge from hospital where he was admitted with blood pressure fluctuations.
Mr Haasan has said the two remained "easy as friends" and were only ever a phone call away.
Mr Haasan launched his political party Makkal Needhi Maiam in 2018. The party, in its debut in the Lok Sabha election in 2019, polled some 2 per cent votes and won none. It is looking to make a splash in this year's state election.
He has not spoken of a definite time by when a possible third front led by his party can be formed. However, he did hint at realignment of political ties in Tamil Nadu before the election. "Alliances will break up and alliances will come together," the actor-turned politician told reporters in Madurai last month, where he launched his party's campaign.
The ruling AIADMK has dismissed any threat by Rajinikanth in the coming election as "overhyped". In 1996, it was widely seen that Rajinikanth's statement - "If Jayalalithaa is voted back, even God cannot save Tamil Nadu" - led to her defeat.