"Traitor," Says Kamal Haasan As Party's No 2 Quits After Poll Debacle

Kamal Haasan declared R Mahendran a traitor (File)


Days after a crushing defeat in the Tamil Nadu elections, the vice president of Kamal Haasan's Makkal Needhi Maiam, R Mahendran, quit from the party on Thursday, alleging a lack of "democracy" in the organisation.

Calling Mr Mahendran a "traitor", actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan said the former was about to be sacked from the party anyway and expressed joy that "a weed" has weeded itself out from the MNM.

The decision of Mr Mahendran, the party's number two ranked leader, came on a day when the MNM announced that six other senior functionaries have also gave their "resignations" four days after Tamil Nadu elections showed the party failed to win even a single seat in the 234-seat assembly.

Mr Mahendran, who unsuccessfully contested the April 6 Assembly polls from Singanallur constituency in Coimbatore, told reporters he submitted a letter to Mr Haasan, informing him about his resignation from the party post as well as its primary membership.

He blamed a "few advisors" at "the top" over the running of the party and said Mr Haasan's way of steering the party "is not okay". Alleging a "divide and rule policy" by the strategy group the party had engaged, Mr Mahendran said he "felt like there is no democracy".

"Many worked hard with the hope that this will change after polls. So, I stayed with him (Kamal Haasan) but felt that in the last month or so there was no change in his approach."

He said he came armed with his resignation letter to the party's Executive Committee meeting on Thursday, held in the backdrop of the party's rout in the assembly polls and handed it over to Mr Haasan.

The party in an official statement said that besides Mr Mahendran, other seniors including AG MOurya, M Muruganandam, CK Kumaravel and Umadevi gave their resignation letters.

Mr Haasan will soon consider them, it said.

In a statement, Mr Haasan said that in his bid to bring a change to Tamil Nadu, the party had faced its first assembly elections on April 6 and "efficiently worked in a big war".

"We saw that there were traitors along with enemies in the field. There was a unanimous chorus for weeding out traitors. On top of the list was Dr R Mahendran," Mr Haasan said.

He accused Mr Mahendran of trying to blame others for his "dishonesty and inefficiency" and gain sympathy.

"He cleverly stepped away understanding that he would be sacked. I am happy like you that a weed has understood it is a weed and has weeded itself out," he said, adding, the party will now see better days.

Mr Haasan claimed he has been transparent in his life and that he had never tried to conceal a mistake and urged his party workers not to lose heart.

"We are never bothered about the cowards who run away during a defeat. There shall be no slightest deviation from our ideology-driven path," the party founder added.