Political sky gets hazy for film stars

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The victory of T.T.V. Dhinakaran in the R.K. Nagar byelection and his likely emergence as the tallest of leaders in the AIADMK seems to have proved wrong the perception that the AIADMK had been thoroughly weakened after the demise of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, offering a space for alternative players.

“I feel that actors Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan will think twice before taking a political plunge now. Mr. Dhinakaran will consolidate his position in the AIADMK and Tamil Nadu will be under the spell of Dravidian parties for some more years,” said Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) leader Thol. Thirumavalavan on Sunday.

What has surprised everyone is the way Mr. Dhinakaran converted the adverse circumstances in his favour.

“Sasikala (the jailed aide of Jayalalithaa) is the most hated figure in Tamil Nadu politics, and if a relative of hers is able to carve out a space for himself in the State politics, it is worth pondering. He overcame all the hardship and his is a refreshing face when compared to Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam,” said Professor Ramu Manivannan of the Political Science and Public Administration at the University of Madras.

The MGR parallel

Mr. Manivannan said he did not believe even today that Mr. Rajinikanth and Mr. Kamal Haasan would enter politics and argued that it was totally unacceptable to cite MGR’s success in politics in support of other actors nurturing political ambition.

“MGR was an icon created by DMK founder C.N. Annadurai and the party. MGR was actually steering the campaign of the DMK and he was an insider. Of course, Mr. Vijayakant entered politics and his DMDK won 29 seats in 2011, but he failed as an articulator while Mr. Dhinakaran has proved his communication skills. Mr. Vijayakant also failed to engage with people politically and the myth about him finally busted,” said Mr. Manivannan.

Pointing out that if people would not have voted in large numbers in favour of Mr. Dhinakaran if they were interested in offering space for alternative players, Mr. Manivannan said film stars commenting and criticising the political system and politicians were actually lacking moral courage and conviction to work among the people and lead from the front.

“Kamal Haasan may be a public intellectual, but does not enjoy substantial political connect. Politics is more than a full-time occupation. You cannot act in films and do part-time politics,” he said.

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