Tamil Nadu Assembly polls to miss star power this time

New Delhi, Jan 12 (IANS) Once dominated by former matinee idols like late MG Ramachandran and J Jayalalitha or DMK’s writer-politician M Karunanidhi, Tamil Nadu politics is likely to miss the star power in the 2021 Assembly elections.

The reason: The death of Jayalalitha and Karunanidhi since the last Assembly elections in May 2016. ‘Dithering’ by Rajinikanth to take the electoral plunge has also not helped the cause.

Jayalalitha, who became the first Tamil Nadu Chief Minister since MGR in 1984 to be voted back into office after the 2016 electoral battle, fell severely ill in September 2016 and died on December 5 that year due to a cardiac arrest after 75-day hospitalisation.

The demise of M Karunanidhi on August 7, 2018, robbed the state politics of another star leader who could sway the voters towards his DMK.

Now, many were pinning hopes on Tamil movie superstar Rajinikant to inject a huge dose of star power into state politics by his entry in the coming polls but his back-pedalling left many fans and supporters surprised and countless more dejected.

In a Twitter message to his followers on Monday, the southern superstar appealed to his fans not to organise events to urge him to enter politics and thus make him more and more sad.

The superstar initially decided to enter politics but later backtracked after his hospitalisation in December last.

However, there are still some known faces from the regional cinema who are active in state politics but they lack the huge charisma and larger-than-life persona that MGR, Jaya or even Karunanidhi commanded. For example, former actress Khushboo who in recent times had switched sides from the Congress to the BJP.

Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) chief and another famous actor-director Kamal Haasan had also entered politics with much fanfare but has not been able to make a mark expected of him.

In December last, he had said that he was just a “phone call away” if actor turned politician Rajinikanth wished to join hands with his party ahead of the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections.

Another actor and Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) founder Vijayakanth is also active in state politics.

Tamil Nadu will witness Assembly polls this year, with ruling AIADMK and opposition DMK the main contestants. DMK trounced AIADMK in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and holds an advantage in Assembly polls as the ruling party doesnt have a charismatic leader like Jayalalitha to once again storm to power after two terms.

While the DMK has an alliance with the Congress, AIADMK will likely go with the BJP. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will participate in Pongal celebrations on January 14, as would BJP President JP Nadda in ‘Namma Ooru Pongal Vizha’ (Our City Pongal Festival) organised by the Tamil Nadu BJP unit near here.

Gandhi will also witness traditional bull taming sport of Jallikattu at Avaniyapuram in Madurai district, said Congress state unit leaders.

In the 234-member Assembly, AIADMK has 124 MLAs and opposition 105, including DMK’s 97.

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