Tamil celebrities, including Rajinikanth, Ajith and several others, not voting in the February 19 urban local body elections has turned into a major point of debate on social media.
Fans were waiting for Rajinikanth, Dhanush, Ajith, Trisha, Shiva Karthikeyan, Simbu at their respective booths to have a glimpse of these stars. However, they did not turn up to vote and the personal managers of these stars told media that they were either out of country for their professional commitments or under treatment or in some cases in shoot within the country.
Political analyst M. Chidambaresan, who is a retired Professor of Political Science from a college in Chennai, while speaking to IANS said: “Tamil superstars are losing interest in politics as they found that stars like Kamal Haasan, Seeman have failed to evince interest among the voters. Except for Vijay, there is no star in Tamil Nadu who is now responding to social and political issues and naturally, this is reflected in their lack of interest to vote in polls.”
Tamil Superstar Vijay had arrived in polling booth at Nangerani in Chennai early in the morning and cast his vote. During the 2021 Assembly elections, Vijay had created a ruckus by bicycling from his home to the polling booth bringing in discussions that he had cycled down to the booth to communicate a strong political message against the rise in fuel prices in the country.
However, the failure of the Tamil celebrities, including megastar Rajinikanth, in voting in the elections has not gone down well with the Rajinikanth common man.
Ratnakumar, a person working in tea shop in Ashok Nagar, Chennai while speaking to IANS said: ” While the state election commission is exhorting local people like us to vote, why are they not ensuring that the celebrities vote too?. This would at least give a feeling to ordinary people like me feel that all of us are part of the democratic system. Now it seems that they are a different class and we are an inferior lot.”
There are also varied opinions that since Rajanikant feels that he is out of reckoning in politics, he need not cast his vote while other stars like Ajith, Simbu, and Dhanush had never expressed their social commitment openly.
Sukumaran, a plumber working with a major building group in Chennai, while speaking to IANS said: “The stars are emulated by a generation of people and Tamil Nadu is one state where stars have achieved the pedestal of political power and stars have to come out and vote and this makes a difference. In a democracy, right to vote is the ultimate power and one should not lose that opportunity.”
However, the State Election Commission has also drawn flak for the stars not coming out to vote in elections. People are of the opinion that the commission has not done anything to create awareness among the public to vote in the polls unlike the Assembly elections when the Election Commission of India brought up major awareness campaigns.
The urban local body polls which was held after a gap of eleven years in Tamil Nadu did not have a good voter turnout with state voting percentage touching 61 per cent and the polling in Chennai corporation was the lowest at 43 per cent.