Indian superstar Rajinikanth abandons political ambitions
New Delhi, India
Publish- December 29, 2020, 07:01 PM
S Kumar - UNB Delhi Correspondent
Update- December 29, 2020, 07:35 PM
In a dramatic U-turn that has shocked millions of his fans, south Indian superstar Rajinikanth on Tuesday decided not to join active politics.
Attributing the decision to poor health, the superstar said that he wanted to serve the people without entering electoral politics. "With extreme sadness I say that I can't enter politics. I alone know the pain I went through while announcing this decision," he said in a statement.
The decision comes barely four days before Rajinikanth was slated to launch a political party to contest in the upcoming assembly elections in his home state of Tamil Nadu.
"This decision of mine will disappoint my fans and people but please forgive me. My hospitalisation was a warning given by God. My campaign will impact health amid the pandemic," said the actor, who had to be briefly hospitalised for blood pressure fluctuations.
Earlier this month, Rajinikanth had announced that he would launch a political party in January next year. “We will achieve a big victory with the support of the people. Spiritual politics will emerge in Tamil Nadu that will bring transparency, honesty," he tweeted.
Later, Rajinikanth told the media, "I am ready to sacrifice even my life for the sake of Tamil people... It is now or never. If I win it will be the people's victory, if I lose it will be their defeat." The superstar had first indicated his intentions to join politics in 2017.
This would be the first election since the death of Tamil Nadu's two most powerful politicians, J Jayalalithaa of the ruling AIADMK and opposition DMK's MK Karunanidhi, created a political vacuum in the politically important state.
Born Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, Rajinikanth made his debut in 1975 Tamil drama Apoorva Raagangal. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest actors in the history of Indian cinema, whose popularity has been attributed to his uniquely styled dialogues in films.
He has won many awards, including four Tamil Nadu State Film Best Actor Awards and a Filmfare Best Tamil Actor Award. The Indian government honored the philanthropist with two civilian awards -- the Padma Bhushan in 2000 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2016.