MNM vice-president, top office-bearers quit

Kamal hits back, terms Mahendran’s move as ‘a weed removing itself’

May 07, 2021 12:30 am | Updated 12:46 am IST - CHENNAI

 R. Mahendran

R. Mahendran

Top office-bearers of actor-politician Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM), including its vice-president R. Mahendran tendered their resignations on Thursday, days after the party’s rout in the Assembly election.

Mr. Mahendran accused Mr. Haasan of not changing his approach towards the party and its cadre even after the electoral defeat. He also accused election management company, Sankhya Solutions, of creating blocks between Mr. Haasan, the office-bearers and the party cadre.

Mr. Haasan hit back at Mr. Mahendran, terming his leaving the party as “a weed removing itself”. He said the vice-president had quit, knowing full well that he was going to be sacked and was trying to gain sympathy by blaming others.

“Our party will only have a phase of growth from now,” he said in a statement on Twitter. Mr. Haasan also accused Mr. Mahendran of not allowing “good people” who wanted to work for the party to rise.

Apart from Mr. Mahendran, top office-bearers of the party — M. Muruganandam, former IPS officer A.G. Maurya, Thangavel, Umadevi, C.K. Kumaravel, Sekar and Suresh Iyer (who runs Sankhya Solutions) — also quit.

Mr. Mahendran, in his resignation letter, said, “Today, I am sad to say that there is a decline in your [Mr. Haasan’s] tenacity of purpose, which lies buried under a style of operation that reeks of a non-democratic manner of running a political party.”

Attacking Sankhya Solutions and Mr. Haasan’s key adviser Mahendran (former television professional), he said by mid-2020, they were only dividing the party and employing “authoritarian techniques” to get their job done.

‘Suggestions ignored’

Mr. Mahendran said when Mr. Haasan chose to contest from Coimbatore South, he sought to lead the campaign as he knew the constituency well, but Mr. Haasan chose to trust the poll managers. Course corrections suggested by him during the campaign were ignored, which led to Mr. Haasan’s defeat by a slender margin, he said.

Despite all these, Mr. Mahendran said he expected a change in Mr. Haasan’s attitude towards the party after the election, but in vain. Mr. Mahendran said if his leaving the party would lead Mr. Haasan to introspect and go back to being the leader that he was in 2018, he would take pride in being the catalyst for the change.

“If the present way of handling people, policy and party workers continue, then there is no future to speak of,” Mr. Mahendran said.

Mr. Haasan, however, said Mr. Mahendran had said that there was no democracy within the party but that “democracy too loses sometimes. He is a very good example of that. Those who were given an address are now trying to usurp the faces of those who gave them that identity.”

He added, “The doors of Makkal Needhi Maiam are always open for those who are dishonest and untalented to leave.”

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