R Mahendran, former vice-president of Kamal Haasan’s political outfit MNM who had a rather publicised fallout with his leader over lack of internal democracy, joined the DMK after a meeting with the Chief Minister and party President MK Stalin today.
Mahendran, a Coimbatore strongman, announced that he was joined by 78 key functionaries from “other parties” in his induction into the DMK.
Stalin, while welcoming Mahendran and others to the party, said the DMK’s victory would have been bigger in places like Coimbatore had Mahendran and his supporters joined earlier.
Mahendran counts among a noted few who’ve moved away from self-proclaimed “change agents” such as Kamal Haasan and Seeman towards the established Dravidian order.
Mahendran had squarely blamed the actor-turned-politician and a few insiders for MNM’s lesser-than-expected performance. Other than Kamal Haasan, who lost rather narrowly to BJP’s Vanathi Srinivasan, the MNM lost by much wider margins in the other seats. Its performance curve now shows a deterioration compared to a surprising better debut in the 2019 Parliamentary elections.
The exodus triggered by Mahendran’s exit from MNM and his subsequent acceptance into the Dravidian fold would strengthen notions that “politics of change” is a much tougher alternative in Tamil Nadu. For the DMK, Mahendran would be another trophy plucked from the camp if politicians promising to root out Dravidian politics from Tamil Nadu.