‘Ra­jini will join pol­i­tics, launch his po­lit­i­cal party’

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - Front Page - KV Lak­sh­mana letters@hindustantimes.com

TAK­ING THE PLUNGE Hindu Makkal Katchi pres­i­dent who met the ac­tor in Chen­nai says he should bring Tamil Nadu out of the mess

It may only be a mat­ter of time be­fore Tamil su­per­star Ra­jinikanth joins pol­i­tics.

The ac­tor will join pol­i­tics and be launch­ing his own po­lit­i­cal party, said Hindu Makkal Katchi pres­i­dent Ar­jun Sam­path on Mon­day af­ter a 45-minute meet with the ac­tor at his house here.

“For sure Ra­jinikanth is com­ing into pol­i­tics and he will be launch­ing his own po­lit­i­cal party... “It is time Ra­jini sir came into pol­i­tics and brought Tamil Nadu out of the cur­rent mess,” Sam­path said. “We have also re­quested him to join pol­i­tics.”

Af­ter speak­ing to his fans and hint­ing about ven­tur­ing into the po­lit­i­cal arena last month, the ac­tor is mak­ing the right noises, pick­ing up is­sues of im­por­tance and meet­ing peo­ple from dif­fer­ent sec­tions of the so­ci­ety.

Sam­path also re­jected the con­tention that Ra­jinikanth had kept him­self aloof from pol­i­tics and never took up is­sues of pub­lic in­ter­est, cit­ing the su­per­star’s ear­lier com­ments on pol­i­tics and po­lit­i­cal par­ties.

In­di­ca­tions from the ac­tor also point to the fact that he is ready­ing him­self for a po­lit­i­cal role.

On Sun­day, the 66-year-old re­ceived a del­e­ga­tion of farm­ers from Tamil Nadu led by its leader P Ayyakannu, the pres­i­dent of Na­tional South In­dian Rivers In­ter-Link­ing Farm­ers As­so­ci­a­tion. The star promised to take up their is­sues with PM Naren­dra Modi.

When the farm­ers re­minded him of his pre­vi­ous prom­ise of ₹1 crore for the river link­ing project, Ra­jinikanth of­fered the sum on the spot. They re­quested him to in­stead hand over the money to the PM and urged him to in­ter­vene on their be­half and help the farm­ers that is fac­ing an acute ex­is­ten­tial cri­sis.

While the Dra­vid­ian par­ties have been luke­warm to the idea of Ra­jinikanth’s en­try into pol­i­tics, the BJP is wel­com­ing him whole­heart­edly and is hope­ful that the star with a huge fan fol­low­ing would join the party, help­ing it to make in­roads in the state that has been dom­i­nated by the DMK and the AIADMK so far.

In fact, BJP lead­ers such as H Raja and Union min­is­ter of state Pon Rad­hakr­ish­nan have in­vited him to join the saf­fron party.

“For a party with­out a charis­matic leader, Ra­jinikanth makes a lot of sense. But even with Ra­jinikanth, the go­ing might be tough for the BJP in Tamil Nadu for an as­sort­ment of rea­sons,” a po­lit­i­cal sci­ence pro­fes­sor at the Madras Uni­ver­sity said.

A source said Ra­jinikanth ap­pears to have made up his mind. In all prob­a­bil­ity, he will for­mally launch his party on his birth­day on De­cem­ber 12.

In­di­ans seek­ing to visit Aus­tralia as tourists or for busi­ness meet­ings will be able to ap­ply on­line vis­i­tor visa from July 1 af­ter the govern­ment made the an­nounce­ment to cash in on the ris­ing pop­u­lar­ity of the coun­try as a hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion.

The De­part­ment of Im­mi­gra­tion and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion (DIBP) granted more than 65,000 vis­i­torvisas­toIn­di­ansin the­first four months of 2017.

Ac­cord­ing to the DIBP, with the ris­ing pop­u­lar­ity of Aus­tralia as a hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion, there has been a rise in de­mand for Aus­tralian visas in In­dia.

As­sis­tant Min­is­ter for Im­mi­gra­tion and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion Alex Hawke said the on­line ap­pli­ca­tion op­tion would make ap­ply­ing for Aus­tralian vis­i­tor visas eas­ier and ul­ti­mately en­hance the vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence for In­dian cit­i­zens. “In­dian na­tion­als wish­ing to visit Aus­tralia will soon be able to ap­ply for a vis­i­tor visa in a more con­ve­nient and ac­ces­si­ble man­ner,” Hawke said.

“On­line lodge­ment for vis­i­tor visa ap­pli­ca­tions is a sig­nif­i­cant en­hance­ment that will ben­e­fit In­dian ap­pli­cants seek­ing to visit Aus­tralia as tourists or busi­ness vis­i­tors, or those want­ing to re­con­nect with fam­ily and friends,” he said.

The move comes amid hun­dreds of complaints from In­di­ans wish­ing to travel to Aus­tralia and fac­ing in­or­di­nate de­lays in ob­tain­ing vis­i­tor visas. PTI

PTI FILE

Ra­jinikanth with a del­e­ga­tion of farm­ers from Tamil Nadu. He has promised to take up their is­sues with PM Naren­dra Modi.

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