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As Actor Vijay Launches Political Party, Heres A List Of Stars Who Entered Tamil Nadu Politics In Past

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New Delhi: Tamil Nadu’s tradition of actors entering politics has a new entrant: actor Vijay, who is one of the most popular and successful stars in the state. The actor, who had faced the ire of the BJP for his anti-GST dialogues in his 2017 blockbuster ‘Mersal’, announced his political party “Tamizhaga Vetri Kazhagam” (Tamil Nadu Victory Party) on Friday. The word ‘Mersal’ means to create fear or awe, and in the context of the film directed by Atlee, it referred to the daring and righteous deeds of the protagonist. The film was a huge hit among the masses and the critics, and also sparked a political controversy.

Vijay’s political entry comes at a time when he is at the peak of his career and fame in cinema, and at a relatively young age of 49. This makes him an exceptional case among the actors who have ventured into politics in Tamil Nadu.

Long List Of Stars In Tamil Nadu Politics

The state has a long history of actors turning politicians, dating back to the early 1950s, when the Dravidian movement used drama and cinema as a medium to propagate its ideals. The DMK founder and former Chief Minister CN Annadurai, who was a Dravidian icon, had a profound influence on the people and the film industry with his writings, plays and films. His successor and late DMK chief M Karunanidhi also achieved great success in Tamil literature and cinema, and was known for his oratory and writing skills.

The most charismatic and successful actor-turned-politician in Tamil Nadu was M G Ramachandran, who founded the AIADMK and became the Chief Minister three times. He started his political career in the DMK, and later split from it to form his own party. He was followed by his protege J Jayalalithaa, who also became the Chief Minister three times and ruled the AIADMK with an iron hand. Both MGR and Jayalalithaa enjoyed a cult-like following among the masses and dominated the state politics for decades.

Apart from MGR and Jayalalithaa, no other actor has been able to replicate their success in politics. ‘Captain’ Vijayakanth, who floated his own party DMDK, became the Leader of Opposition in 2011, but only after aligning with the AIADMK. He later lost his political relevance and his party’s vote share dwindled.

Kamal Haasan, who is widely regarded as one of the finest actors in Indian cinema, has not been able to translate his popularity into votes. He launched his party Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) in 2018, and contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and the 2021 Assembly elections, but failed to win any seat.

Sivaji Ganesan, another legendary actor in Tamil cinema, had a brief stint in politics. He joined the Congress and later formed his own party, but quit politics after losing the 1989 Assembly election in Tiruvaiyaru. Sarath Kumar, a former DMK MP, runs his own party ‘Akila Indiya Samathuva Makkal Katchi’, but has not made any significant impact. Other actors who started their own parties without any success include Karthik, K Bhagyaraj and T Rajendar.

Some actors have also joined national parties like the BJP and the Congress. Napolean, who was a DMK MP and a Union Minister of State, later joined the BJP and moved to the USA. Khushbu Sundar, who was earlier in the DMK and the Congress, is now active in the BJP.

Vijay, who has declared that he has prepared for his political innings by learning lessons from seniors, faces a tough challenge in the political arena. While his fans are confident of his leadership and celebrated his party launch by bursting crackers and distributing food, political analysts are sceptical.

Sumanth Raman, a noted political commentator, said that running a political party is a very difficult task and achieving in politics is even harder. He said that Vijay will have to prove his mettle and vision in the upcoming local body elections and the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.



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