Actor Khushbu Sundar, who changed camp from the Congress to the BJP, hit back at her former party today, saying the Congress "does not want an intelligent woman" and there is "no freedom to speak the truth" within the party. Ms Sundar, who was a national spokesperson of the Congress with a strong social media presence, had alleged that some leaders were "dictating terms" and "suppressing" her.
The Congress had said her exit will not affect its performance in the next year's assembly elections in Tamil Nadu.
On arrival at the Chennai airport today, Ms Sundar called the Congress "mentally retarded", citing the comments by state Congress leaders.
Later, at the press meet at the BJP office, she said: "I was loyal to the Congress. But the Congress disrespected me... They (the Congress) don't want an intelligent woman. To say that I was seen only as an actress, shows the Congress' cheap thoughts."
Calling herself a "Periyarist", she said, "How will a party that gives no freedom to speak the truth do good?" Social activist Periyar EV Ramasamy -- the father of the Dravidian movement -- also raised his voice against "atrocities against women", she added.
A strong critic of the BJP who tweeted her views often tagging Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Ms Sundar today said, "As an opposition member I opposed the BJP".
But she also added that her opposition was not just for the sake of opposing. "I had also praised PM Modi on certain issues," she said.
One such occasion was in August when she praised the Prime Minister's new education policy and apologized to Rahul Gandhi for her views.
In her tweet, she made clear her misgivings with the party, saying she would not be a "puppet".
"My stand on #NEP2020 differs from my party n I apologise to @RahulGandhi ji for that, but I rather speak the fact than be a head nodding robot or a puppet. Everything is n cannot be about agreeing to ur leader, but about being courageous to voice ur opinion bravely as a citizen," her tweet read.
With the Congress out of power, Ms Sundar's career was seen to have stagnated. The BJP is expected to give her a big job for the 2021 assembly election. There are unconfirmed reports of a Rajya Sabha seat too.
The 50-year-old had started her political career with the DMK in 2010 when it was in power. But she quit in 2014 and joined the Congress, saying "Hard work for the DMK had been a one-way path".
After joining the Congress, she had said that she feels "at home". "Congress is the only party that could do good for the people of India and unite the country," she had said.