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Rajini must have an alliance and be the CM candidate

Rajini must have an alliance and be the CM candidate

For the actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth even as a Chief Ministerial candidate, a political alliance to fight the 2021 polls is important and further the parties he aligns with should not have negative votes, said political analysts.

"If Rajinikanth's party goes it alone, then it may get a maximum of 5-8 per cent votes. Most of the voters will be anti-DMK and apolitical voters of AIADMK," political analyst Sriram Seshadri told IANS.

"If Rajinikanth is the Chief Ministerial candidate then straightaway he will have a minimum of 10 per cent vote share and alongwith his party's political ideologies and other policies he can gain more," added another political analyst not wanting to be quoted told IANS.

The analysts also said if Rajinkanth decides not to be his party's Chief Ministerial candidate, then his party would most probably end up in the five per cent vote share party club.

Earlier, Rajinikanth had said he would be the party leader while the Chief Ministerial candidate will be somebody else.

Rajinikanth also has to face the challenge of DMK and the propaganda of its allies that he is the B team of BJP in Tamil Nadu or a mask for BJP as his party's chief coordinator is none other than Ra.Arjunamurthy, who till Thursday was Tamil Nadu BJP's Intellectual Wing head.

On Thursday, Rajinikanth announced his decision to float his political party in January 2021 and contest the Assembly polls in Tamil Nadu, besides naming Arjunamurthy as the party's Chief Coordinator.

"The initial tempo Rajinikanth had gained announcing his political party has now been lost with the appointment of Arjunamurthy. The DMK and its allies will blow this out in a major way," said a political analyst.

"Initally Rajinikanth had distanced himself from BJP saying that others are trying to paint him with saffron colour. Nobody can give him a colour. But the appointment of Arjunamurthy is a vulnerability," the analyst added.

"That vulnerablility can be erased if Rajinikanth announces himself as the Chief Ministerial candidate," he added.

According to him, the 12 per cent vote share of the minorities in Tamil Nadu will consolidate with DMK and the campaign against the electronic voting machine (EVM) in a way is a minorty vote consolidating strategy.

"If Rajinikanth is the Chief Ministerial candidate then the impact will be more for DMK. In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls the ruling AIADMK got 18 per cent vote share and the DMK 32 per cent, many of them apolitical or neutral votes. So Rajinikanth will attract this segment. He can get Dalit and women votes while for others he has to sweat it out," the analyst said.

According to him, the AMMK party led by T.T.V.Dhinakaran will have its 5 per cent share and may not grow while PMK now taking the Vanniar reservation card may gain 3 per cent to 8 per cent vote share.

"On the other hand, Kamal Haasan's MNM which had got about 4.5 per cent vote share in the 2019 general elections -- mainly urban neutral votes -- may lose votes to Rajinikanth. Similarly, Seeman's Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTM) may not be able to grow beyond 4 per cent as Rajinikanth can gain at his cost as well," the analyst said.

Political analysts say that that 2021 Assembly polls in Tamil Nadu will be unique as the dynamics have changed with Rajinikanth's entry.

"If there is 4-5 corner electoral contest then DMK and AIADMK will be affected. If MNM, Congress and VCK join hands, AIADMK and BJP, DMK and Communists and Rajinikanth with PMK and if former DMK leader M.K.Alagiri starts a movement in Southern Tamil Nadu then the DMK will be affected," Seshadri added.

The only strong area that the DMK will be left with will be the Cauvery Delta region.

"He is an actor with a fan club run by the fans. For him an alliance is a must. But his personal profile may not allow that," Ramu Manivannan, Professor and Head, Department of Politics and Public Administration told IANS.

Mannivannan said Rajinikanth can travel alongwith Kamal Haasan's MNM. Even BJP can openly announce Rajinikanth as their Chief Ministerial candidate.

"An alliance between BJP and Rajinikanth will be straightforward," Manivannan added.

Meanwhile, the challenges before Rajinikanth are: meeting the criticism that he is not a Tamil to rule Tamil Nadu and being the B team of BJP. He has to give his views on the important issues affecting the state and cannot escape as he did when he was a non-politician, poor party infrastructure, internal dissensions by members of Rajini Makkal Mandram (RMM), the internal party weakness will start showing out, whether he would spend his money to fight the polls at this stage and reaching out to the masses his party's symbol, name and ideologies, listed out Seshadri.

"If there is an electoral alliance then most of the above challenges can be addressed," Seshadri said.

Further, Rajinikanth has also changed his attitude and cannot say "his electoral victory will be people victory and a defeat will be people's defeat."

According to Seshadri, if Rajinikanth stands alone then the DMK may not got after him aggressively as he will not be a major threat.

All the three analysts agreed that BJP's strategy is to weaken both AIADMK and DMK and gain a firm foothold in Tamil Nadu.

They said the BJP would like DMK to dump Congress. If that happens Congress will be an insignificant player in the state and BJP which is gaining vote share now-estimated to be about 10 per cent-can get a firm foothold in Tamil Nadu.

"In the South BJP is not there only in Tamil Nadu and Kerala," Seshadri said.

Political analysts are unanimous in saying that the 2021 Assembly polls in Tamil Nadu will be unique as the dynamics have changed with Rajinikanth's entry.

(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at v.jagannathan@ians.in)

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