Rajinikanth lays down dos and don’ts for fans in his 36-page Blue book
Nine months after announcing his political entry, Rajinikanth, without much fanfare, released the by-laws of the Rajini Makkal Mandram (RMM or Rajini Fans’ Association), which is likely to be his political vehicle, in a slim 36-page blue-coloured book.
Chairman Mao Tse Tung had his Little Red Book of slogans he used to regain what he thought was his faltering hold on the Communist Party of China in the 1960s and 1970s, and late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had the Green Book summing up his political philosophy.
Now, Tamil film superstar Rajinikanth, preparing for a career in politics, has his own version — a Blue Book of the values that his fans’ association must uphold, and the structure it must adopt.
Nine months after announcing his political entry, Rajinikanth, without much fanfare, released the by-laws of the Rajini Makkal Mandram (RMM or Rajini Fans’ Association), which is likely to be his political vehicle, in a slim 36-page blue-coloured book. It contains 25 main clauses and outlines the dos and don’ts for his followers.
One key clause, apparently distancing the RMM from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), says: “We want to drive a clean and honest politics (that is) apart from caste, creed, language and race. So people associated with caste-based organizations and religious outfits cannot join RMM.”
On the cover page of the book is a visage of a thoughtful-looking Rajinikanth and a hand symbol made famous by his movie Baba. Most observers expect RMM to be converted into a political party. His fellow Tamil movie star, Kamal Haasan, has already launched a party called Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM).
While Kamal Haasan made a big splash launching the MNM at an event in Madurai, Rajinikanth has been working quietly behind the scenes to strengthen RMM, according to an office-bearer who did not want to be named as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
One of the clauses in the Blue Book of by-laws is that nobody except the president (Rajinikanth himself) of RMM would speak to the media. While Rajinikanth could not be reached for comment, he has asserted in the past that a formal announcement of a party launch would only take place after the RMM is strengthened at the grassroots level.
The office-bearer cited above said about 7,000 people had already been appointed to positions at all levels from block-level leaders to district secretaries.
Under the actor’s guidance, the RMM has also been involved in a membership drive for the last six months. Another office-bearer who also spoke to HT on condition of anonymity said the 36 pages of by-laws had been put together in the form of a book to help his followers understand the organisation’s structure and values.
The by-laws deal with the eligibility for membership, the hierarchy in the organisation and appointments. With the release of the by-laws, fans are now hoping that Rajinikanth would soon make a formal announcement about the party.
“We have almost completed the membership drive. Our high command has made appointments for all the positions. It has released the by-laws now. So, we are expecting the party launch soon,” said an RMM worker from Trichy.
Surprisingly, after Rajinikanth claimed that he would practise ‘spiritual politics’ – a statement that was welcomed by the BJP, Hindu Makkal Katchi and other right-wing parties – the Blue Book now proclaims that secularism would be the basic tenet of the RMM.
But people in the RMM also indicated that the Blue Book was launched to ensure equidistance from all parties; some statements by Rajinikanth had been seen as being in alignment with the stance of the BJP, which has been seeking an electoral partner in the state.
Reacting to the launch of the Blue Book, BJP state general secretary Karu Nagarajan said Rajinikanth should have first launched a party before releasing the by-laws.
“Since Rajini stated that he would do spiritual politics, we welcomed that ideology. However, his recent statements about secularism and filtering people associated with religious associations do not augur well with his previously stated stance of practising spiritual politics,” Nagarajan said.
Nagarajan also said that Rajinikanth stands the risk of short-circuiting his political career by delaying the launch of his party. “There is talk about holding Assembly elections (in Tamil Nadu) and Lok Sabha elections simultaneously and there couldn’t be a better time for Rajini to launch his party. But if he delays any further, we can only construe it as his lack of interest,” Nagarajan said.
The senior office-bearer of RMM quoted earlier said Rajinikanth had always wanted to be a secular force and would launch the party at the right time.
“Spirituality in politics means clean and honest politics. We should not merely connect the word with religious identities. We don’t want to launch a party without any foundation. Currently, we are making our foundation strong and our leader will unveil the party at the right time,” he said.
Tharaasu Shyam, a political analyst, noted that there have been some changes in Rajinikanth’s attitude of late.
“Though he had talked about spiritual politics, he is now talking about secularism. He has probably realized that religious ideologies will not work in Tamil Nadu,” Shyam said.
Speaking of secularism alone cannot be seen as a sign of Rajinikanth closing the doors on the BJP.
“Beyond all this, by releasing the by-laws, Rajini has given a signal that he would become a full-time politician soon,” Shyam said.
First Published: Aug 29, 2018 21:50:10