Chennai: Superstar Rajinikanth on Tuesday attributed the handsome poll win of the BJP to the charisma of Narendra Modi, who he said was in the same mould as the other charismatic leaders of independent India, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. It was Modi’s leadership that won for the BJP, he told reporters outside his Poes Garden bungalow here.
“This Lok Sabha poll victory is a win for the individual leadership called Modi. It is the victory for a charismatic leader. In Indian politics, whether at the national or the state level, any party will secure victory only on the charisma and popularity of its leader. He (Modi) is a charismatic leader,” Rajinikanth said.
Elaborating, he drew from the past examples of charismatic leaders — Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv and Vajpayee — and said after them, India has now got charismatic Modi as its leader.
“In Tamil Nadu too, there were charismatic leaders like Kamaraj, Anna, Kalaignar, MGR, Jayalalithaa”, he said.
Confirming he had received invitation for Modi's swearing-in (Thursday), Rajinikanth said he would attend the ceremony. Answering a question, he attributed the defeat of the BJP-AIADMK alliance in Tamil Nadu to the hard campaign done by the Opposition focusing on people-sensitive issues such as NEET, Sterlite, GST and Methane extraction in Cauvery belt.
"It was a wave against Modi in Tamil Nadu, while the country elsewhere witnessed a wave in his support….When there is a political wave, one cannot swim against it; they will be swept away".
Asked to comment on Rahul Gandhi insisting on quitting as Congress president owning responsibility for the poll debacle, Rajinikanth said Rahul should not resign. He was a young man and could have found it difficult to manage the elders in the age-old party that Congress is. "I don't think he lacks leadership qualities. The seniors have not cooperated properly; they did not work hard", he said.
He said in democracy the opposition party is "as important as the ruling party" and must be strong "because we see the ruling party (BJP) is very strong now".
Asked what would be his Tamil Nadu wish-list to the Modi Government, pat came the reply: Immediate action to solve the state's water crisis.
Welcoming Union Minister Nitin Gadkari's assurance on the linking of Godavari and Krishna rivers to provide water to TN, Rajinikanth said it was heartening the BJP Minister made that statement despite his party faring poorly in the elections in TN. He insisted that primary attention must be given to the linking of Godavari-Krishna-Cauvery.