Actor and politician Rajinikanth on Friday distanced himself from the BJP, saying it is trying to 'paint him saffron'. Speaking to the media after unveiling a statue of late film director K. Balachandar at the new office premises of Raaj Kamal Films International in Chennai, along with actor-turn-politician Kamal Hassan, he clarified that BJP has not invited him to join the party. However, he insisted that efforts were being made to paint him with "saffron".
"In-person they (BJP), didn't invite me to join, they are trying to give me the BJP colour, like how they did with Thiruvallur. They are trying to saffronise me. Neither me nor Thiruvallur will not fall for it," he said. When asked about senior BJP leader Pon Radhakrishnan's recent meeting with him and the former's repeated assertions that the actor should join the party, Rajinikanth said no such has invitation has been made to him. "No offer has been made (from BJP to join the party).. definitely not," he said.
Referring to the recent controversy surrounding the Tamil saint-poet Thiruvalluvar, he said: "Thiruvallur is a Gyani and a Saint, He cannot be confined into any caste or religion. Valluvar was a believer of God, he is not an atheist. But BJP has posted a saffron-clad Thiruvalluvar picture in their Twitter handle, it's their view. They didn't insist that every statue in the state should be saffronised. It's a needless controversy. It's even very silly to talk about this." He also clarified that he has no plans to contest in local body polls.
In 2017, Rajinikanth announced his entry into politics, at a time when Tamil nadu faced a vacuum after the demise of AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa and ailing of DMK chief M Karunanidhi. However, he did not contest the Lok Sabha polls earlier this year. While Kamal Hassan launched his party Makkal Nidhi Maiyyam, Rajinikanth has not announced a party, instead reiterated that he will work for people of Tamil Nadu. He had, last year, launched his own website 'rajinimandram.org' and a party logo. In a video message to his fans, the superstar had appealed them to register to the website and help him develop Tamil Nadu.
The whole controversy over the saint started when the BJP Tamil Nadu's Twitter handle tweeted a photo depicting the saint in saffron robes, rather than his usual white robes on Friday. The saffron party had tweeted a photo of various aspects of Tamil Nadu along with PM Modi who had PM Modi released a translated version of the Thirukural in the Thai language. The tweet posted a photo Thiruvalluvar in saffron, adorned in rudraksha and ash, which he has never been depicted as such. The tweeted extolled about Tamil Pride on Tamil Nadu Day.
This immediately faced backlash from several political outfits like CPI(M) and DMK who alleged that the BJP was saffronising the poet. DMK Supremo M K Stalin tweeted that to saffronise the poet Thiruvalluvar who believed in 'equality at birth' for political gains is a betrayal to Tamils. He added that any attempts to saffronise the saint will fail saying, 'All your colour will bleach away'.