Artistes wept in the open, got emotional, and questioned the morality of the winning team and fairness of the election results while resigning from the Movie Artistes Association (MAA), making the month-long election episode murkier.
All 11 winners from the Prakash Raj panel resigned from their posts, asking the newly-elected president Manchu Vishnu to appoint members of his choice against the vacancies for smooth functioning of the body. Their resignation comes in the wake of Mr. Prakash Raj himself giving up his MAA membership citing certain new ‘local, non-local rules’ coming into effect.
Mr. Prakash Raj described the resignations as a dignified decision to ensure smooth functioning of the association as the two earlier teams proved that a mixed MAA team was found to be indulging more in fighting than solving issues. He also offered to withdraw his resignation as MAA member if the new team promised not to bring in a new law preventing non-Telugus from contesting association elections. However, he did not hide his anger while charging Mr Vishnu’s team of indiscipline, rowdiness and violent behaviour for their resignations.
Senior actor and newly-elected vice-president Banerjee wept at the press conference saying Mr. Mohan Babu abused him using foul language despite Mr Vishnu trying to calm him down. “Why should I stay in the association facing such insults and when my family feels humiliated,” he asked, adding that Mr. Mohan Babu’s wife had even personally called him to express apologies.
Young actor Tanish also got emotional, speaking of the abuses hurled at him but said he was personally close to Mr Vishnu and his brother Manoj and would continue to remain so. He was resigning as EC member as he was unable to face such personal pressures, he said. Actor-writer Uttej alleged that former president Naresh’s behaviour was objectionable throughout the election campaign.
While the members wash their dirty linen in public, seniors and respected members of the fraternity have kept mum and refused to be dragged into this controversy. But their agony was evident as they said that the vulgarity which crept into the campaign was avoidable.
This time, MAA elections took a regionally divisive flavour with Mr Vishnu’s team campaigning on ‘Telugu vs non-local’ plank, questioning the nativity of Mr. Prakash Raj. Senior film actors see this election as a fight between Chiranjeevi and Mohan Babu camps to showcase their hold on the industry.