Tamil superstar Rajinikanth on Wednesday said the National Population Register (NPR) is an essential requirement of the country right now, it will let the authorities identify outsiders. The actor, who is making all the right noises before his expected political entry, said the Narendra Modi government has confirmed that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) will not affect Indian citizens and if CAA affected the Muslims of India, he would be the first person to stand with them in support.
The comment by the Tamil superstar comes in amid the massive protests across the country, including Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi, with a large number of Muslims and secular-minded people protesting the anti-Islam bias of the CAA. When the anti-CAA protest broke out, Rajinikanth had told the media that protests and violence will lead the country nowhere and that violence can never be the solution.
Rajinikanth, Thalaivar to his fans, said there is no need for protests as the government has said that the act will not even harm the Muslims residing in India. Rajinikanth said other political parties are instigating the citizens of India to go against CAA just for political gain.
This remark by Rajinikanth underlines his proximity to the BJP. He had denied being under the party’s influence earlier, but the BJP seems to be betting on Rajinikanth to make a dent in the state dominated by the Dravidian parties, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. The former party rules in Tamil Nadu but has no mass-level leader left to rival deceased party chief J. Jayalalithaa. The AIADMK now usually sides with government on key issues but has been cautious on CAA. The DMK, led by MK Stalin, has maintained its firmly anti-CAA stance, given that it is already a constituent of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance.
Rajinikant has consistently praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah on several issues including the nullification of Article 370 of the Constitution. Rajinikanth, in a rare moment of effusive praise, likened Modi and Shah to Lord Krishna and Arjuna.
On the other hand, Kamal Haasan, the other Tamil matinee idol, has been vocal against CAA and its discriminatory core. He has even said that having a majority in Parliament doesn’t give the government the authority to destroy the fabric of the nation.