With less than a month to go for Lok Sabha elections, actor turned politician Kamal Haasan's Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) has found itself in trouble with the party's senior leader and Naturals salon chain co-founder CK Kumaravel quitting the party citing internal politics.
Kumaravel, who had been part of the party's core team since its inception on February 21, 2018, submitted his resignation on Monday citing "internal politics". Hours after his resignation, MNM's National Media Manager Mandvi Sharma issued a statement that the party is accepting Kumaravel's resignation on the grounds that his acts were not in keeping with the democratic selection process of candidates.
The statement issued by Mandvi reads: "In between the week-long process of Parliamentary candidate interviews, Mr. Kumaravel's Facebook page had updates on him declaring that he is already selected as the Candidate for the Cuddalore constituency when the selection process was not even completed. Makkal Needhi Maim has a strict zero tolerance on applicants violating party principles for which MNM gives utmost importance. This is more so on applicants not communicating pending decisions to any media/social media ahead of party leadership’s formal statement on the same especially when there were more than a few hundred applicants waiting to be interviewed in a democratic manner."
Mandvi further added that Kumaravel did not even attend the Interview process and when the party questioned him on the same, his answers were not satisfactory.
The entrepreneur, however, denied the allegations by MNM and said the internal politics is serving as a roadblock for the party's future. Speaking to indianexpress.com, Kumaravel said: "I joined MNM because of Kamal sir's vision to do welfare for Tamil Nadu, but now it seems somebody is hijacking the vision. Kamal Haasan is the leader of the party, the roles, and responsibilities for the members have to be allocated by the management committee which they fail to do. They lack focus and are not interested in either Kamal Sir's welfare nor about state's welfare; they are selfish and are interested in their own self."
Asked how party chief Kamal Haasan reacted to his resignation, Kumaravel said: "I went and informed about my resignation to him on Saturday. He didn't react much, but he was certainly not impressed. He just let me go."
Kumaravel also denies MNM's allegation that he announced himself as the Cuddalore candidate without the party's approval. "Mahendran (Vice-president of MNM) gave me oral approval a couple of months back. He is like Sasikala of ADMK, he gives oral instructions and it works. Based on his instructions, I went ahead and started working towards the election. But when I came to know that my name is not confirmed, I came back and apologized to Mahendran and said I will withdraw my name from the candidature list."
Kumaravel also lashed out at the new entrants for bossing the party without having prior experience or talent.
"People who just joined the party have been calling the shots. Kovai Sarala is a well-known comedy artist, but how long has she been with the party? A person should either be with the party for a long-term or should be talented enough to make appropriate decisions; she has got neither of that," added Kumaravel.
The 2019 Lok Sabha elections will take place in seven phases with Tamil Nadu and Puducherry facing the polls on April 18 in a single phase. MNM's candidate list for both Lok Sabha and the bypolls will be announced on Wednesday and the party will kick-start its campaign on March 24 in Coimbatore.
(Kumaravel’s Facebook post link which led the controversy: https://www.facebook.com/kumaravel.ck/posts/10156047703186027)