Rajinikanth says Modi charismatic leader like Nehru, Rajiv

Chennai, May 28 (PTI) Tamil superstar Rajinikanth Tuesday described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a “charismatic” leader like Jawaharlal Nehru and Rajiv Gandhi and attributed the BJP’s massive win in the Lok Sabha polls to his individual leadership.
He also said that Congress President Rahul Gandhi need not resign following the party’s debacle in the Lok Sabha elections, saying he was a youngster and perhaps had not got the cooperation of senior party leaders.
Rajinikanth said he would be attending the swearing-in of Modi as Prime Minister on Thursday, following an invitation for him to participate in the event.
The veteran star likened Modi to tall leaders of India, including Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, A B Vajpayee, K Kamaraj, C N Annadurai, M G Ramachandran, M Karunanidhi and J Jayalalithaa.
“This Lok Sabha poll victory is a win for the individual leadership called Modi. It is the victory for a charismatic leader,” he told reporters here.
“In Indian politics, whether at the national level or state, any party will reap wins only on the (popularity) of a leader. He is a charismatic leader,” he said about Modi.
He noted that the country in the past had charismatic leaders like Nehru, Indira, Rajiv and Vajpayee.
“After them (the country) has got Modi, a charismatic leader. If you see in Tamil Nadu, there were charismatic leaders like Kamaraj, Anna, Kalaignar, MGR, Jayalalithaa.
Along those lines, this victory is achieved for the leadership of Modi,” he said.
However, the BJP lost out in southern states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu due to an “anti-Modi wave” though there was a pro-Modi wave in other parts of the country, he noted.
“When there is a political wave, one cannot swim against it and will be swept away,” he added.
The reasons for such an anti-Modi wave in Tamil Nadu included the Sterlite issue in Tuticorin, methane extraction project in Cauvery delta and the “whirlwind campaign” of the opposition, Rajinikanth added.
Asked if the issues surrounding NEET and GST had also contributed to the BJP’s bad show, he said “definitely.”
On Congress chief Gandhi’s offer to resign, the Tamil superstar said, “He should not resign.”
“I won’t say he lacks leadership qualities. The thing is it is very really difficult to handle the Congress party, it is an age-old party where senior-most people are there.”
“As a youngster it is difficult to handle the senior-most people. Even I think, my observation is, the senior Congress leaders — they had not cooperated well. They had not worked hard,” he said.
There was no need for Gandhi to resign as an opposition party was as important as the ruling one in a democracy, the veteran star added.
“Now the ruling party (BJP) is very strong. I expect the opposition party should also be strong,” he said.
To a question, he said the Centre should immediately address the “water crisis” in Tamil Nadu and welcomed Union Minister Nitin Gadkari’s statement that the Centre was keen on interlinking Godavarai and Krishna rivers to provide water to the state.
Such a statement came from Gadkari despite the BJP’s poor performance in the state, the top actor added.
Asked about the performance of Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM), led by his contemporary Kamal Haasan in the Lok Sabha polls, he appreciated the party for securing nearly three per cent votes within 14 months of coming into existence.
The actor parried questions on his floating a political party, saying “I have said that many times.”
In December 2017, the veteran star had said he would indeed make the political plunge and contest from all 234 Assembly constituencies in the next Assembly polls in Tamil Nadu, which are due in 2021.

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