The Rajini Makkal Mandram on Monday said its members were free to quit the organisation and join other political parties, weeks after its chief and actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth announced that he was not entering politics because of his health and the coronavirus pandemic, reported The News Minute.

“Members can resign from Rajini Makkal Mandram and work with other political parties,” said a press release from the group’s manager VM Sudhakar. “Though they join other parties, the members of Rajini Makkal Mandram should not forget that they are fans of our beloved leader.”

In 2018, Rajinikanth’s fan clubs were reorganised into RMM, which was said to be the precursor to the actor’s political party. Rajinikanth had said that he would announce his political party on December 31 and launch it in January, ending years of uncertainty about his political plans. The announcement was significant as Tamil Nadu will have Assembly elections this year.

The group’s statement on Monday was released after a number of officer bearers of the organisation joined the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. On Sunday, three district-level secretaries of the RMM joined the MK Stalin-led party in Chennai. Three other RMM workers also joined the DMK, according to The Hindu. A few fans of the actor had criticised this development.

After the declaration that he would not enter the electoral fray, the actor had said that Rajini Makkal Mandram would continue to function as usual. He also thanked politicians Tamilaruvi Manian for motivating him and Arjunamoorthy for quitting his party and joining him.

On December 29, Rajinikanth had said that people who have joined him will have to face “difficulties mentally and financially” if he is affected by the coronavirus. His statement came two days after he was discharged from a hospital in Hyderabad where he was admitted due to severe blood pressure fluctuations.

On January 11, Rajinikanth said that he was pained to see his supporters protesting against his decision to not enter politics. The 70-year-old’s remarks came after thousands of his fans staged a demonstration at Valluvar Kottam in Chennai, urging him to withdraw his decision to opt out of politics. The protestors appealed to the actor to take into account the importance of the Assembly elections, and the need for him to enter politics to “save Tamil Nadu”.