HYDERABAD: The Movie Artist Association (MAA) elections for Tollywood on Sunday was a thriller of a contest between two panels — one led by Naresh and the other by Shivaji Raja — which saw a lot of dramatic scenes, much like last year’s adrenaline-charged Assembly polls.
Election officer and High Court advocate Krishna Mohan declared actors Naresh Vijaya Krishna and Jeevitha Rajasekhar winners at 3 am on Monday at the Film Chamber of Commerce here. The duo will assume the posts of president and general secretary of MAA respectively. While Naresh polled 268 votes, his opponent Shivaji Raja got 199 votes.
Naresh’s panel member Dr Rajasekhar was elected executive vice-president, while Siva Balaji Manoharan and Gautam Raju were declared the new joint secretaries and Kota Shankar Rao the treasurer, leaving two posts for the opposition led by outgoing president Shivaji Raja. Actor Hema, who contested as an independent polled 200 votes and will assume the post of vice-president. For the first time since its inception, MAA saw a record 472 of its 745 eligible members turn up for elections.
It was a crucial win for Naresh, who had begun raising questions about the way MAA functioned under Shivaji Raja’s leadership. The rift started after MAA organised a fund-raiser in the United States with Chiranjeevi as the chief guest. Naresh, along with a few others, accused Shivaji Raja of misappropriating funds that belonged to the organisation.
He also announced that he would contest for the position of the president against Shivaji for his alleged “abusive” behaviour towards members. Naresh and his team launched a campaign against the opposition and garnered the support of actors Chiranjeevi and Mahesh Babu.
An emotional Naresh dedicated his victory to his mother Vijaya Nirmala, veteran actor Krishna, late directors Dasari Narayana Rao and Jandhyala for continuously inspiring him to think about the welfare of artistes. He also stated that the recent developments in MAA had caused mental agony to its members at various levels and asserted that it would “take some time for things to settle down”. He also stated that he would not be contesting the next elections. “We promise that our team will go the extra mile to implement promises. I request everyone to protect our mother (MAA),” he said.