Rajini Makkal Mandram (RMM), the official fan club of veteran actor Rajinikanth which was expected to his political launchpad, announced on Monday that its members were free to join any political party after tendering their resignation from their designations.
This comes a day after three district secretaries and a few senior functionaries of the RMM joined the DMK.
On Sunday, in the presence of DMK president MK Stalin, RMM district secretary of Thoothukudi A Joseph Stalin, RMM district secretary of Ramanathapuram K Senthil Selvananth, RMM district secretary of Theni R Ganesan, RMM IT wing leader K Saravanan, RMM’s Ramanathapuram district deputy secretary A Senthilvel, and RMM’s traders’ union secretary S Muruganandam joined the party.
Deputy general secretary of DMK and MP A Raja, organising secretary, and MP RS Bharathi, and spokesperson TKS Elangovan were also present.
கழக தலைவர் @mkstalin அவர்கள் முன்னிலையில், ரஜினி மக்கள் மன்ற தூத்துக்குடி மாவட்ட செயலாளர் டாக்டர் ஏ.ஜோசப் ஸ்டாலின், இராமநாதபுரம் மாவட்ட செயலாளர் திரு. கே.செந்தில் செல்வானந்த், தேனி மாவட்ட செயலாளர் திரு. ஆர்.கணேசன் மற்றும்#DMK #MKStalin
— DMK (@arivalayam) January 17, 2021
RMM administrator VM Sudhakar issued a statement saying, “If any member of the Rajini Makkal Mandram wishes to join any political party, they can do so after resigning from RMM. The members of RMM should not forget that even they join any other political party, they will always be a fan of our leader [Rajinikanth].”
Speaking to Silverscreen India, R Ravichandran, south Chennai district secretary of RMM, said: “If anyone wishes to join any political party, they can continue to do so after resigning from their RMM posts. However, they can still continue to be a member of RMM and also a fan of thalaivar [Rajinikanth].”
Ravichandran said that the main reason for the move was to prevent political parties to garner votes from Rajinikanth’s fan base by using their RMM post as a publicity tool.
“I have traveled with thalaivar for the past 34 years. I came to Chennai to see him and slowly and steadily I have come to this position. I will stay with him and I do not want to be attached to any political party. Until 2017, it was not known if he will enter politics or not. I aim to travel with him even if has distanced himself from politics,” he said.
Others who have joined political parties have vested interests, he said and and termed it “a betrayal to thalaivar”.
Echoing Ravichandran, AVK Raja, central Chennai district secretary of RMM, said: “We are hardcore fans of thalaivar, so we are not interested in political parties. We intend to travel with him and serve in his name, even if he will not enter politics.”
On December 29, 2020, Rajinikanth announced that he would not be foraying into politics, sending his fans into shock. The actor’s decision came after he was hospitalised at the Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad on December 25, 2020 following “severe fluctuations” in his blood pressure.
On January 10, 2021 the actor’s fans gathered at the Valluvar Kottam area in Chennai and staged a protest requesting Rajinikanth to reconsider his decision. Rajinikanth’s fans also urged choreographer and filmmaker Raghava Lawrence, who is an ardent fan of Rajinikanth, to speak to him about his entry into politics and join them in their rally. On January 11, 2021, Rajinikanth issued a statement asking his fans not to hold any more protests and urge him to join politics.