Kamal and Rajani: A New Political Phase in Tamil Nadu


Kamal declared it in last November. Rajani waited for the papers to make headlines in the New Year. When there are indications that Kamal favours the left, Rajani, with his lotus flex behind his lectern on December 31st, assumably has the blessings of the saffron party. The former had earlier tried the waters of politics by supporting MGR and Karunanidhi in the 1980s while wrangled with Jayalaithaa.

Rajani, on the other hand had famously denounced AIDMK in 1996 assembly election saying "Even God cannot save Tamil Nadu if AIADMK returns to power." It took him twenty years to make a clear statement finally. As Jayalaitaa is no more in the picture and Karunanidhi is inactive since last October, the doors of Dravidian politics have opened for the stars once again.

But what is most intriguing is that although the declarations have been made and the mobile apps have been launched, none of the superstars have divulged any serious party propaganda or even the names of the parties. Rajani keeps sticking with his tricky word ‘spiritual politics’, much to the speculation that DMK might join hands with Kamal to oppose Rajani. But Kamal is a delicate card to play with. He has a reputation for being too much of a his own person- erudite, self admittedly a hesitant actor on screen, and concerned about the image he projects (wearing a black Kurta while he met Barkha Dutt for The Week in last november). Rajani has a fan network above cast- class diversities. But we don’t know whether he is just a silver screen instrument with a political assignment given by BJP for its big entry in the next Tamil Nadu elections.

 Speaking of Tamil Nadu politics, Periyar (E.V Ramasamy) was particular about forging a rational formation for the Dravidians. Being a revolutionary whose actions provoked extreme reactions from the people of Tamil Nadu, a man who travelled Russia, Malaysia and Sreelanka for support, Periyar thought of even collaborating with Jinnah to form a separate land for Dravidans. The anti-Hindi movement of 1948-49 had the intensity to unite the quarrelling Periyar and Anna in those days.  Annadurai used films with long grant speeches for channelling ideologies; but never used mythologies. Later, came Karunanidhi and MGR. With Jayalalita it all paused for a while. While Telugu cinema and politics was intricately interwoven with the actor’s god character on screen and its consequent success in politics, Tamil politics was different. Periyar was against idols, against Brahmins and called for marriages in ‘inauspicious times’ which infuriated the religious and for many reasons he identified himself with the left.

Now, when Kamal, born in an Iyengar family, being criticised for speaking against the right wing Hindu ‘extremism’ (a word he corrected in his interview with Burkha Dutt) he makes it clear that he and his party will work against all kinds of religious terrorism, may it be Hindu or Muslim. Some postulate that Kamal is looking for the youth of Tamil Nadu by embracing a digital platform with social media and other campaigning strategy. As for Rajani’s ideologies and strategy, apart from the promising frenzy of fans where they repeated the star’s key dialogues from films such as Kabali (2016) to express their loyalty, nothing is much known about his next move. Probably it is all in a stealth mode before the big leap.

When the first week of 2018 winds up, let’s keep a weather eye on Tamil Nadu and its future evolving in politics.

Image Credits: Facebook

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