Chennai: Almost a year ago, amid the political confusion within the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in Tamil Nadu, film actors Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan announced their entry into politics. However, the two are yet to become active politicians.

After announcing in November last year that he was gearing up to enter politics, 63-year old Haasan launched his party Makkal Nedhi Maiam (MNM) in February at a rally in Madurai.

On 31 December last year, more than two decades after first dropping hints that he might enter politics, Rajinikanth announced that he would soon launch a party that would engage in “spiritual politics". The party would contest all 234 seats in the next assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, which are to be held in 2021, he had said.

However, nine months on, the 67-year-old actor is yet to launch a party, though the Rajini Makkal Madram (RMM), a forerunner to the political party, has been engaged in strengthening his cadre base by restructuring his fan clubs and appointing secretaries at the district levels. Even this was beset with problems, with office-bearers being constantly removed and appointed, drawing a lot of criticism.

There is a strong buzz that the actor who has two more movies, 2.0 and Pettai, lined up for release after Kaala earlier this year, will announce the party name before the end of this year. Last week, A.C. Shanmugam, founder of the New Justice Party and a close associate of Rajinikanth, said the actor is expected to launch his party within the next two months.

Aspiring “to fill up the vacuum in Tamil Nadu politics", both Rajinikanth and Haasan announced their political ambitions following the demise of former chief minister J. Jayalalithaa and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief M. Karunanidhi who had been inactive in politics for nearly two years before his death in August.

The actors “are yet to convince the people of Tamil Nadu about their political intent," said N. Sathiya Moorthy, director at the Chennai Chapter of the Observer Research Foundation, a think tank.

Recently, Haasan who confirmed that his party wouldn’t contest the yet-to-be announced bypolls in Tiruvarur (Karunanidhi’s constituency) and Tiruparankundram that fell vacant after the death of AIADMK MLA A.K. Bose, hasn’t ruled out the possibility of contesting the Lok Sabha elections.

The actors have been undertaking doing social service as part of their fan clubs for over 30 years, but there is much work still to be done to convert the fan base into cadre support and convince voters, said observers.

Moorthy said that both Rajinikanth and Haasan are “lagging in their political dialogue" with the public. There was “a dearth in their credibility and continuity", he said

“When you become a politician people expect you to react to every issue that is bothering the state," he said.

Actor Haasan who was in Kanchipuram district on Tuesday to take part in grama sabha meetings said that there was “no need to be a full-time politician".

“No one does anything full time," he said.

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