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Actor Vijay May Score a Blockbuster in Tamil Nadu Polls Without Even Contesting

It was in 2021 that actor Vijay made his foray into politics successfully, without campaigning or contesting polls.

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Kollywood actor Vijay is in the news for many reasons.

A quirky video, titled ‘Arabic-Kuthu,’ made by composer Anirudh, as a precursor to Vijay's much-anticipated film 'Beast,' is raking in views online. He will soon also be kickstarting ‘Thalapathy 66.’

But now, there is yet another political Vijay blockbuster brewing and the trailer is about to hit the screens in a week.

Buoyed by the success in rural local body polls last year, fans of Tamil actor Vijay will contest the ensuing elections to urban local bodies in Tamil Nadu as independent candidates. This move is being seen as a prelude to the film star’s much expected political plunge.

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The Non-Existent Political Journey so Far

It was in 2021 that actor Vijay made his foray into politics successfully, without campaigning or contesting polls.

Thalapathy Vijay's selfie with fans at Neyveli became the Most Retweeted Tweet of 2020.

(Photo: Twitter/ @ActorVijay)

Actor Joseph Vijay Chandrasekhar, who is fondly called 'Ilaya Thalapathy' (young commander) has acted in 65 films and won numerous awards, including three Tamil Nadu State Film Awards, a SIIMA Award and has even been included several times in the Forbes India Celebrity 100 list.

He has a significant fan following globally and his fan club is called ‘All India Thalapathy Vijay Makkal Iyakkam.’ (TVMI) The fan club, with over 10 lakh members, has been around for the past 27 years.

To give you a quick flashback, Vijay and his fans, with the support of the Congress in Puducherry, even held a public meeting in August 2008.

Interestingly, a 2017 survey said that if Vijay formed a political party to contest the state elections, his chances to win if he formed an alliance with Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) was 39%, with All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) it was 22.8%, with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 7.7% and with Congress, 6.3%.

It was in 2021 that actor Vijay made his foray into politics successfully, without campaigning or contesting polls.

In 2014, Narendra Modi, who was the then BJP Prime Ministerial candidate, met with the actor in Chennai.

(Photo: Twitter/ @ActorVijay)

In 2018, the actor dropped hints of joining politics when he spoke about corruption and the democratic spirit in public forums. Rumour mills started working but the actor always remained tight-lipped about his political ambitions.

In November 2020, his father S A Chandrasekaran even registered a political party in the name of the 'All India Thalapathy Vijay Makkal Iyakkam.' But the actor went against his father publicly, stating that he has no direct or indirect connections with the party registered by his father.

The Indirect Poll Debut

It was in 2021 that the actor made his foray into politics successfully, without campaigning or contesting elections. In the Tamil Nadu rural local body elections, his fan club recorded a 68 per cent strike rate, winning 115 of the 169 seats it contested.

The rural local body elections were conducted in October 2020 in nine districts for 27,003 posts. The fans had contested independently using the actor's name and photograph for campaigning.

It was in 2021 that actor Vijay made his foray into politics successfully, without campaigning or contesting polls.

Actor Vijay (extreme left) alongwith the members of TVMI who won in the rural local body elections.

(Photo: Twitter/ @ActorVijay)

This was the first time the actor gave consent to office-bearers of his fan club to contest elections in his name.

TVMI did better than actor Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM), Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), actor Vijayakanth’s Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) and the Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK) — all established parties in the state.

Confident, TVMI is now contesting the urban body elections scheduled to be held on 19 February 2022.

In a press release, a TVMI general secretary Bussy Anand even said that the organisation will not enter any pre-poll alliance in the civic polls.

“You can’t compare Assembly polls or Lok Sabha polls to these elections. Usually, a voter prefers a certain party because of their strong Dravidian ideology (in the case of DMK) and for those who don’t resonate strongly with them, they choose AIADMK, which also has a set ideology. But that is not the same in the case of parties like MNM, PMK and even Vijay’s group. For local polls, voters don’t look at which is the ruling party at the state level. Instead, individuals are elected based on their connect with the people in that particular area,” says political analyst Nilakantan R S.

It was in 2021 that actor Vijay made his foray into politics successfully, without campaigning or contesting polls.

Actor Vijay with his fans, photographed in 2014. 

(Photo: Twitter/ @ActorVijay)

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Too Early to Measure Vijay’s Political Mass Appeal

It was in 2021 that actor Vijay made his foray into politics successfully, without campaigning or contesting polls.

Actor Vijay holding the flag of his fan association.

(Photo: Twitter/ @ActorVijay)

While political analysts believe that Vijay’s political popularity among the masses can’t be measured yet, the fan club is quite confident of a historic win.

Bussy Anand told local media channels that the 2021 results were not unexpected as the party had earned a lot of goodwill in the actor’s name, especially during the pandemic. They said that the fan club gave free provisions and even arranged oxygen for people in Salem, Thanjavur, Chennai, Tiruvallur, and Trichy.

It was in 2021 that actor Vijay made his foray into politics successfully, without campaigning or contesting polls.

Actor Vijay with TVMI secretary Bussy Anand.

(Photo: Twitter/ @ActorVijay)

Although the club members are very guarded about commenting on Vijay’s entry into politics, the local units of the fan clubs say they will convince him to join politics.

Many analysts drew similarities to actor and DMDK leader Vijayakanth, who also made his fans contest in the local body polls before floating his own party in 2005.

“Actors like Vijay, Kamal Haasan, Vijayakanth are political entrepreneurs. They don’t seem to have any clear ideology on what they really represent and the public also knows that.”
Nilakantan R S, Political Analyst
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Other TN Parties Unperturbed

It was in 2021 that actor Vijay made his foray into politics successfully, without campaigning or contesting polls.

A poster of actor Vijay as DMK supremo Karunanidhi and his wife as AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa spotted in Madurai.

(Photo: Twitter/ Vijay Fan club)

Though the TVMI clocked a vote share much higher than other non-Dravidian parties, most of them are not too impressed with their success. Even mainstream parties like the DMK are not worried about Vijay just yet.

“We are not bothered by this. It doesn’t affect our chances. Even the small parties need not fret because only when the actor steps into politics will we see if he has popular support. All these are independent candidates who are elected because of the rapport that individual has with people. Kamal Haasan did not make any waves. Rajinikanth retired from politics before even stepping in. When it happens, we will see,” said a senior DMK leader.

Incidentally, Puducherry Chief Minister N Rangasamy (of BJP ally NR Congress) met Vijay on 6 February and had a detailed discussion. Though claimed to be a courtesy meeting, sources say that Rangasamy had sought Vijay’s support in the future elections.

The actor is probably testing the waters before taking the plunge. With every movie or public appearance he makes, the anticipation is building up, as the public continues to wonder – 'Will he?' – just as they wondered in the case of Rajinikanth for decades. And we all know how that ended.

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