Tamil Nadu politics is linked to films. Celluloid heroes are taken for real, their fan-clubs are transformed into political parties. The DMK is founded by the noted script writer M. Karunanidhi, the creator of heroes. The AIADMK was formed when actor-hero M G Ramachandran broke away from DMK and formed his own party. The two parties won elections and their heads became Chief Ministers. Karunanidhi headed the Government for long, defeated by MGR who took the chair. When MGR died, his filmi heroine Jayalalitha was elected the CM.
When Jayalalitha died, the AIADMK became an orphan. Shasikala tried to take charge, but she was entangled in corruption cases colluding with Jayalalitha and jailed. Faction fights corrupted the ruling party; after much drama of influencing MLAs, the factions compromised to keep power. Meanwhile Sasikala’s nephew TTV Dinakaran came to the scene to claim Jayalalitha’s legacy. Some MLAs join. He contested a by election and won defeating the official AIADMK and DMK and posed a threat to the government claiming to be the real party of Jayalalitha.
In this murky political waters of Tamil Nadu, another filmhero Rajanikanth is now poised to take a jump. He has a big fan-following which he hopes to turn into a political party and proposes to win all 234 seats of the state to take over the Government. He thinks complete fiasco made by AIADMK and the image of corruption stuck on the DMK, could make the Tamil electorate vote for him. His promising true, spiritual politics could make him win, he hopes.
However, Rajanikanth qualifying his politics as “spiritualism” would be a deviation from the rationalist heritage bequeathed to the Tamils by the father of Dravida movement, E.V. Ramaswami Naicker better known as Periyar (Great man). With such a temperament, Tamilians may not accept Rajanikanth’s spiritualism that has a flavour of the RSS-BJP Hindutva.
Meanwhile, the Modi-Shah duo will work hard but their efforts would not be of much use for the 2019 general elections in Tamil Nadu. Rajanikanth will jump into political fray only in the state Assembly elections scheduled for 2021. So he may not be of much use to BJP to extend its rule for another term.
It is a fact that people are disillusioned with the present political parties in the state. Film Hero-worship is on the vane and the younger generation is not fans of heroes. And the younger party leaders like DMK’s M.K. Stalin and AIADMK’s TTV Dinakaran are not film actors. Tamil politics is in a flux and it is expected to throw up a leadership of reality rather than images.