Bengaluru: Actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth on Sunday announced that he would not be contesting the upcoming parliamentary elections nor extending support to any other political outfit, ending months of speculation including hope that he would cash in on the existing political vacuum in Tamil Nadu.
The 69-year old superstar, however said that the aim of his yet-to-be-announced political party was the assembly polls and not parliamentary currently.
"I am not supporting anyone and no one should use my picture or outfit's flag for political campaign purposes," he said in a statement on Sunday, clearing any doubts if the actor would endorse any other political parties.
Rajinikanth's announcement coming days after Kamal Hassan, another iconic actor , said that the Makkal Needhi Mandran would contest all 39 seats in Tamil Nadu where stardom from cinema has been turned into political capital several times in the past.
Though Rajinikanth steered clear of endorsing another party, he said that the people should vote for a strong and stable government at the centre who can resolve the perennial water problem of the southern state.
Rajinikanth had floated an outfit called Rajini Makkal Mandram as a precursor to his plans of launching a political party.
Rajinikanth's political ambitions coming to the fore right after the death of late TN chief minister J.Jayalalitha that had given room for speculation that the popular actor would cash in on his mass support to fill the power vacuum. Also a popular yester years Tamil actress, Jayalalitha's death had sparked off internal fights within the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhakam (AIADMK) including a power struggle between the late CM's aide Sasikala and O. Panneerselvam with the latter breaking away and the former now serving a jail sentence on a disproportionate assets case.
Both Rajinikanth and Hassan had made grand claims of cleaning the political system, hoping to end the dominance of the AIADMK and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhakam (DMK).
Rajinikanth's proximity with Prime Minister Narendra Modi was interpreted by political commentators as an opening for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to enter TN where the two national parties have little or no presence at all in terms of elected representatives.
"This was on expected lines and changes little," Sumant Raman, a Chennai based political analyst said.