The ruling DMK Party in Tamil Nadu might have swept the rural elections held in nine reorganised districts, but a closer look at the results display that actor Vijay – considered second only to the famous star Rajinikanth in popularity charts – has taken a silent entry into politics, through his fan club.
Vijay’s fan club won 115 of the 169 seats it contested, recording a 68% strike rate, as results state.
This was the very first time Vijay had given consent to office-bearers of his fan club – All India Thalapathy Vijay Makkal Iyakkam – to contest the elections.
“Of the 115 winners, at least 45 are women. Otherwise, the candidates who contested under the banner of actor Vijay were from a cross section of our society,” said Anand, a former Congress MLA from Puducherry.
He said those who won included farmers, students, traders, lab technicians and even school teachers.
Bussy Anand, the general secretary of All India Thalapathy Vijay Makkal Iyakkam, said of the 115 seats they had won, victory in 13 seats, including four each in Kallakurichi and Kancheepuram, was not opposed.
Anand, who is known as a messenger between Vijay and his fans holding organisational positions, said contesting the elections was initially not a planned move.
The number of seats Vijay fans contested or won in the village panchayat wards may seem unimportant as compared to the total 27,003 local body positions in the state.
The taste of victory on debut may lead to a bigger role for the actor in state politics. “Suddenly, ahead of the polls, there were requests from many districts, seeking permission to contest,” he said. “All of them were people who had been leading activities in their own localities on behalf of our movement.”
“When we discussed it with Thalapathy [as Vijay is fondly called by his fans], he agreed,” said Anand. For candidate selection, Anand said, Vijay conveyed only two preferences – “educated youth” and “equal representation to women”.
Vijay’s political entry raises many eyebrows as it was the very same cause that led to a public argument between him and his father S A Chandrasekhar after the latter proposed to form Vijay Makkal Iyakkam (VMI), another outfit in his son’s name though without his permission.
Vijay had to make a public statement to cut ties and links with VMI and also filed a case against his father and mother Shoba Sekar, pushing them to refrain from using his name or photo for any kind of political meeting or political activities.