Jun 20, 2007 at 11:28am IST

Naidu calls Rajini to join Third Front

New Delhi: TDP chief and prime mover of the Third Front N Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday virtually invited Tamil superstar Rajinikant to join the proposed political formation but the actor remained non-committal.

"He is most welcome. I have great regard for him. I will be the first person to welcome him if he is agreeable (to join the Third Front)," Naidu said when asked whether he would invite the star to join the Front.

The TDP chief interacted with the media after watching the preview of the much-awaited Rajinikanth-starrer Sivaji-The Boss at Imax theatre in Hyderabad. "He (Naidu) is a politician and I am an artiste. We are good friends," Rajnikant said.

TRUE ICON: Tamil suprestar Rajinikanth remained non-committal on the issue of entering politics.

He recalled his long association with Naidu and said "I know him for several years and he is a very good friend of mine."

Apart from movies, Rajinikanth left his mark in politics in the 1996 Assembly Elections in Tamilnadu. The actor supported the DMK - TMC coalition and helped them to defeat the ruling AIADMK party.

Naidu was all praise for the southern superstar, who has a massive following in Andhra Pradesh, and said he thoroughly enjoyed watching the film, which is being released across the state on Friday.

Along with Naidu, his son Lokesh and several TDP leaders watched the film.

bullet In 1995 Rajinikanth announced that he is willing to support the Congress party after meeting Prime Minister Narasimha Rao. An opinion poll conducted by Kumudam magazine predicted that Congress with Rajinikanth support may win up to 130 seats in Tamilnadu Assembly.
bullet1996 Rajinikanth supported DMK-TMC alliance. DMK-TMC alliance used Rajinikanth photos extensively in political campaigning. The TMC used the Bicycle as their election symbol and used Rajinikanth's riding Bicycle in Annamalai movie in their posters. Rajinikanth uttered "Even God cannot save Tamilnadu if AIADMK returns to power".
bullet "In 1998 Rajinikanth supported the DMK-TMC alliance in parliamentary elections. SUN TV broadcast Rajini's speech throughout the day of the election.
bullet In 2002 Rajinikanth undertook one day fasting condemning Karnataka's decision to not to release Cauvery water to Tamilnadu. Announced that he would contribute Rs 10 million towards interlinking of Indian rivers scheme. He met Prime Minister Vajpayee and many experts to canvass support for Interlinking Indian rivers scheme.

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