tv & movies

MAA elections 2021: Arguments, hugs, talks of peace mark polling day

Prakash Raj and Vishnu Manchu are contesting for the president's post in the 2021 MAA elections.

The voting for electing the new office-bearers of the Movie Artists Association (MAA) 2021 began on Sunday morning. The who’s who of the Telugu film industry descended on the Jubilee Hills Public School to cast their votes. The polling is the culmination of months of the bitterly fought campaign between Prakash Raj and Vishnu Manchu.

Some high-voltage drama played itself out outside the polling booth. The TV visuals showed Prakash Raj and Vishnu Manchu exchanging pleasantries and even hugging each other. Vishnu’s father Mohan Babu was also seen giving a warm greeting to Prakash Raj, who showed his respect by touching the feet of the former. It seemed all the bitter things Prakash Raj and Vishnu had said about each other were strictly business and nothing personal.

The superstars of Telugu cinema, including Chiranjeevi and Pawan Kalyan, also expressed hope that divisiveness caused by the poll campaign would come to an end with elections and cooler heads would prevail. “I think we should consider this election as an aberration and as a new normal. Such things are not good (for the industry). It was very unfortunate and we will try to avoid such situations in the future,” Chiranjeevi told the media.

“No matter who comes to power, we will all work together to take MAA to the next level,” he added while refusing to publicly tell his preferences between the presidential candidates Prakash Raj and Vishnu.

Pawan Kalyan also noted that he had not seen such a fiercely fought campaign in the history of MAA elections until now. “Even I didn’t understand the need for that. We have seen instances of ruling parties coming to us, seeking cooperation to fight local body elections. When there is such a level of cooperation in politics, they (Prakash Raj and Vishnu) could have sat together and sorted out the differences,” he said.

However, there were also some clashes outside the polling booth. Allegations of one of the rival camps trying to rig the elections by campaigning inside the voting booth also flew thick and fast. Some individuals were forcefully escorted out of the venue after they were allegedly not able to provide their credentials as members of MAA. The TV visuals showed Naresh and Prakash Raj coming close to blows in a heated exchange. When asked about it by the media, Prakash tried to brush aside the incident.

Ram Charan, Naga Babu, Balakrishna, Nithya Menen, Genelia were among those who showed up to cast their votes. The voting will be counted after 3 PM and the winners will be announced today itself.

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About 26 positions will go to the polls this Sunday. And more than 900 members of the association will participate in the voting that will select the new executive body for the term of two years.

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