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Here to fill void left by the late Jayalalithaa and ill Karunanidhi, says Rajinikanth

This was the actor's first public address after his announcement last year that he would be entering politics.

Rajinikanth at Anil Kapoor's residence in Mumbai last week. Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Manigandan KR

Superstar Rajinikanth today announced that he would fill the void created in the state's leadership by the death of AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa and the ill health of DMK chief M Karunanidhi.

Addressing his first public meeting after his decision to enter politics, the actor, who participated in an event at the Dr MGR Educational and Research Institute, said, "People ask me why I didn't get into politics when Jayalalithaa was alive. There is a vacuum. There is a space for a good leader. Nobody can question Jayalalithaa's leadership. Similarly, there was Karunanidhi. They were great leaders. He is also not well now. There is a space for a good leader and I am coming to fill that space."

The actor, who unveiled a statue of former chief minister MG Ramachandran before delivering a lengthy but power-packed speech, made statements that seemed to be answers to several questions that were being raised in various quarters about his entry into politics.

Coming down hard on the current establishment, Rajinikanth said, "The government of the day and politicians ask why actors are coming to take over their jobs as politicians. I am 67 years old now. As you are not doing your duty, I am stepping in."

Urging his fans to remove banners that they had put up, the actor said, "I think we have violated the court's rules on banners. I request you all to avoid indulging in such activities."

The actor spoke at length about his association with MGR and the manner in which he had staved off competition from the legendary Sivaji Ganesan in films and the master strategist Karunanidhi in politics.

He also for the first time spoke of his personal relationship with the late leader.

On the occasion, the actor urged college students not to enter politics but to focus on their studies. "At this point, your education is what is important," he said. "Know everything about politics. But focus on your studies. Even if I start a party, do not come to politics at this age. Be aware of all that is happening and just cast your vote correctly."

The actor also advised the students to pick the right friends because that is very important.