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Tamil Nadu abuzz with excitement over actor Vijay’s political moves

Lakshmana Venkat Kuchi Yet another filmy hero is scouting the political arena in Tamil Nadu, the state that has had blessed film personalities with the highest of elected offices, and in fact two of them dominated the state politics for nearly three decades. The political rivalry of film scriptwriter par excellence M Karunanidhi and superstar […]

Edited By : Lakshmana | Updated: Jun 13, 2023 18:19 IST
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Tamil Nadu Vijay
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Lakshmana Venkat Kuchi

Yet another filmy hero is scouting the political arena in Tamil Nadu, the state that has had blessed film personalities with the highest of elected offices, and in fact two of them dominated the state politics for nearly three decades.

The political rivalry of film scriptwriter par excellence M Karunanidhi and superstar heroine J Jayalilthaa is legendary and the duo did not even speak to each other for better part of their political lives. Till Jayalalithaa broke the cycle in 2016, by getting re-elected to the CM’s position, for over three decades the duo ruled the state for alternative terms.

Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi in Tamil Nadu, NT Rama Rao in Andhra Pradesh, and to some extent Chiranjeevi in Andhra Pradesh had succeeded in politics too, the days of the film heroes (and heroines) going onto becoming Chief Ministers, even in film-crazed South India may well be over, with professional politicians taking a firm grip of the polity.

At best, film stars are like the optional ‘extras’ in politics, providing star power to political parties to attract audiences in their rallies and appealing to their fan clubs. Perhaps realising this the biggest super-duper star, Rajinikanth, cried off at the proverbial eleventh hour to enter politics after floating a party.

But still, young superstar Vijay, the current reigning Tamil superstar whose name guarantees success of a film, is seriously contemplating entering electoral politics and has tested the waters, with an in-depth survey of the state with an objective to launch a bid for power in the state in the 2026 general elections to state Assembly.

Actor Vijay (Joseph Vijay) has got his fan club that does welfare activities to increase its social outreach across the state over the past two months. ‘Thalapathy’ (Commander) as his fans call him, has however, chalked up a series of action-drama films, but those close to him are sure that he will enter politics.

Sources close to the actor reveal that he has already got a study of the political situation across the state carried out and is toying with the idea of coming out with another version of the Dravidian model to take on the DMK and AIADMK. Scores of his fan club members are trying to transform into political workers and few of them had even contested municipal and local body elections as independents last year and won in over 100 places.

What his entry can do to Tamil Nadu politics is to muddy the waters for other players like the BJP and even the AIADMK that was considerably weakened and is trying to make a strong comeback. Given his appeal across the state and across age groups, actor Vijay would attack some vote due to the novelty factor as well, but not enough votes to win seats.

Incidentally, his entry may just help the DMK, which has stitched up a winning alliance, and Vijay may eat into the votes of other political parties and hurting them.

As to his victory and becoming a Chief Minister, he can forget any such dreams is the terse comment of political analyst Prof Ramu Manivannan. Incidentally, he said that the days of film stars becoming Chief Ministers in Tamil Nadu were over, and politics is a full time round the clock activity.

A superstar like Kamal Haasan cut a sorry figure in politics in Tamil Nadu and almost all his candidates lost their deposits in assembly elections held last year.

Even stars in Andhra Pradesh have discovered it that being a film personality does not guarantee political acceptance by the masses as the biggest superstar of Andhra Pradesh films, Chiranjeevi lost MLA elections in his own birthplace Palakollu, but won from Tirupati and entered assembly. He contested 294 seats in the combined Andhra Pradesh and won a mere 18 seats, and later joined the Congress and became a union minister too.

First published on: Jun 13, 2023 06:19 PM IST

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