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Rajinikanth says he will not contest Lok Sabha polls, targets Assembly election

File photo of Rajnikanth. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

WION Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India Feb 17, 2019, 11.47 AM (IST) Written By: Sidharth MP

Putting an end to speculations about his plans to contest in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, superstar Rajinikanth has issued a statement saying that he would not be contesting in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls and that their target would be the Tamil Nadu Assembly polls. 

The actor said that he has not offered his support to any of the parties and asked political parties to refrain from using his photo/party flag under the banner of Rajini Makkal Mandram or Rajini Rasigar Mandram (fans association) to campaign or promote any political party. 

Water shortage is the main issue that Tamil Nadu faces, he said in the statement. ''Ahead of the upcoming polls I lovingly request you to analyse, think and vote for a decisive majority at the national level, which you think could solve the water woes of Tamil Nadu and introduce adequate schemes to bring a permanent solution,'' the statement added.

Rajinikanth had announced his decision to foray into politics in late 2017, amid much cheer and fanfare. While Rajinikanth unified his fan clubs under the banner "Rajini Makkal Mandram", he did not formally launch a political party or get it registered. 

Actors started foraying into politics after they saw a vacuum in the Tamil Nadu political sphere after the demise of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in late 2016. During the same period, DMK supremo M Karunanidhi was also out of active politics due to age-related issues, until his demise in August 2018. 

Rajinikanth is not the only actor to have announced his political foray. 
Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan too has his political party called  "Makkal Needhi Maiam". But Kamal is a step ahead, as he has registered his party with the election commission of India and has also started campaigning in rural areas across Tamil Nadu. 

Kamal has also expressed interest to contest in the Lok Sabha polls but hasn't really given further details regarding his plans or electoral alliances. 

All through 2018, Rajinikanth made political statements and also hinted that he had an ideological inclination towards the ruling BJP.

On a few occasions, he also made statements in support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. These statements fuelled speculations about Rajini being the BJP's probable trump card in Tamil Nadu where on-screen idols such as MGR and Jayalalithaa have been able to convert popularity into votes.

Even former five-time chief minister M Karunanidhi, who was a screenwriter had used films as a medium to express his political messaging.