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Published On: Tue, Dec 15th, 2020

Is this the name and symbol of Superstar Rajinikanth’s party?

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Rajnikant-16CHENNAI: With superstar Rajinikanth set to change political dynamics in poll-bound Tamil Nadu, speculation is rife that he may debut via a modest and unrecognised party – Makkal Sevai Katchi.

It is also learnt that his signature ‘two-finger’ pose that was made popular in a 2002 film Baba and ‘autorickshaw’, which is synonymous with his 1995 blockbuster Baashha, are top preferences for his party’s election symbol in the forthcoming Assembly polls.

According to a report in The Times of India, Makkal Sevai Katchi, which was originally registered as Anaithindhia Makkal Shakthi Kazhagham, could be the launch vehicle for the superstar’s much-awaited political entry.
He is likely to use the party Makkal Sevai Katchi as his political launch vehicle for the upcoming Tamil Nadu assembly elections. The party was originally registered as Anaithindhia Makkal Shakthi Kazhagam, but the name was later changed to Makkal Sevai Katchi through an amended Election Commission notification that was issued two and a half months back. The party’s symbol in all likelihood would be an auto rickshaw.
According to the report, the party is likely to get ‘autorickshaw’ as its election symbol. Interestingly, the party aims to field candidates from all the 234 seats in the state, a revelation that could set political circles speculating over the actor’s possible alliances in the Tamil Nadu polls next year.
However, Rajini Makkal Mandram has issued a statement and asked fans to wait for an official announcement.It said: “Name of a political party and a symbol registered with EC is being attributed to Rajinikanth and RMM by media organisations. RMM urges fans and supporters to wait for official information from the top leadership.”

As reported earlier by Times Now, the south Indian superstar announced on December 8 that he will be launching a political party in January.”In the upcoming assembly elections, we will definitely win the assembly elections and give an honest, transparent, corruption free and spiritual politics without any difference to any religion or caste,” he had said while making the announcement. A further announcement regarding the decision is expected on December 31.
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Rajinikanth’s much-awaited political debut is expected to change the political equations in Tamil Nadu and may redefine the existing alliances between the major players in the state which include DMK, AIADMK, BJP and others. While the DMK has already made attempts to downplay the actor’s political ambitions, the scheduled exit of late CM Jayalalithaa’s aide Sasikala is expected to further twist the political battlefield in the state.

According to sources  Rajinikanth may contest the Tamil Nadu election next year using as his springboard a newly-registered party, Makkal Sevai Katchi (People Service Party), with the autorickshaw as the symbol.
The party was registered last year by family members of a leader of Rajinikanth’s outfit Rajini Makkal Mandram. Speculation peaked when it emerged that the party recently applied for two symbols that have a distinct Rajinikanth connect.
The party ‘s first preference was the two-finger symbol (the “rock-on” gesture used by Rajinikanth in the film “Baba”) and the second choice was the autorickshaw. The election body assigned the second – a reminder of another popular Rajini starrer, “Basha”, in which he played an autorickshaw driver.
As reports emerged of Rajinikanth’s possible new party even before his grand New Year’s Eve announcement, his team appealed to members of his outfit to wait for official information. But it did not deny the reports or even confirm them.
The Makkal Sevai Katchi party was previously registered with the Election Commission as the “Anaithindia Makkal Shakthi Kazhagam”. The application listed an address in north Chennai.

Rajinikanth, 70, was neither named as the applicant nor as an office bearer.In September, “Anaithindia Makkal Shakthi Kazhagam” was renamed “Makkal Sevai Katchi”.A fresh application was sent for a symbol to be allotted to the party.”Though the application for the common symbol was not from Rajinikanth, the cover letter mentioned his name,” sources in the poll body told NDTV.

Since it was registered in February 2019, the Makkal Sevai Katchi has not contested any election.The party was registered by the family members of AJ Stalin, a district leader of Rajinikanth’s outfit.

SP James is the president of the party, Antony Joe Raja is the general secretary and Maria John Augustus is the treasurer of the party. All three are also members of a Trust founded by AJ Stalin.

The financial statement of the party for the year 2018-19, accessed by NDTV, shows “Rs 0.34 lakhs” as its income and the same as expenditure. Antony Joe Raja refused to comment on his political party and its connections with Rajinikanth.
Rajinikanth, who set up the Rajini Makkal Mandram two years ago, is set to announce his political party on December 31 before launching it in January, five months before the Tamil Nadu election.

Earlier this month, the hugely popular star, seen to vacillate for long over joining politics, announced that he was ready to take the plunge and it was “now or never”.He promised “spiritual, secular politics” and a “miracle” in the polls, previewing a blockbuster campaign that will also feature fellow actor Kamal Haasan.

In October, there were reports that Rajinikanth was reluctant to join politics because he was warned by his doctors over Covid, given his renal transplant.
This will be the first election in Tamil Nadu without its political giants J Jayalalithaa, the former Chief Minister and AIADMK chief who died in office in 2016, and the rival DMK’s M Karunanidhi, who died in 2018. In the absence of any towering political figure, two veteran actors are expected to shake up the vote.
(With Chennai Bureau ).

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