Tollywood artist association polls: Insider-outsider debate fuelled mudslinging

The forthcoming weeks saw this insider-outsider debate taking centre-stage, as even senior actors like Kota Srinivasa Rao stepped in to question Prakash Raj’s candidature.

Published: 11th October 2021 09:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th October 2021 09:15 AM   |  A+A-

Actor Prakash Raj

Actor Prakash Raj (Photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Tollywood heaved a collective sigh of relief after the Movie Artists’ Association (MAA) elections concluded on Sunday, October 10, 2021, bringing to an end the ugly spat between the two factions that contested the poll. Actor Vishnu Manchu, the eventual winner, began his campaign by projecting himself as a ‘son of the soil’ and sought to distinguish himself as a local, the insinuation being that Prakash Raj, who hails from Karnataka, is an ‘outsider’. The actor further alleged that Raj was non-accessible and often at the ‘centre of controversies.’ 

The forthcoming weeks saw this insider-outsider debate taking centre-stage, as even senior actors like Kota Srinivasa Rao stepped in to question Raj’s candidature. This line of criticism drew the ire of actor-producer Naga Babu, who observed that it was unfortunate that Prakash Raj, a household name in Telugu cinema, was still being maligned as an ‘outsider.’

The veteran actor bit back by accusing Manchu of using his financial clout to gain the absolute majority through a postal ballot. He alleged that the election code had been violated, and shared a few documents that seemed to show an unidentified person paying postal ballot expenses to the tune of `28,000 on behalf of 56 elderly voters, including Krishna, Krishnam Raju and Sharath Babu. Vishnu then proceeded to counter each point raised by Raj and went on to accuse the latter of creating a toxic environment. 

With the back-and-forth accusations defining the election campaigning, some members of the association attempted to cool frayed tempers. Actor Murali Mohan, a six-time president of MAA, made futile attempts to unite both parties.A key point of debate was the construction of an independent building for MAA. While Vishnu offered to construct the building with his own money, Prakash Raj announced that he would request land from the Telangana government. With the election results announced late on Sunday night, hopefully, the Telugu film industry can now function as a content, united body.

Political connection questioned
There was a suggestion that Vishnu’s connection with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy could play a role in the elections, an insinuation categorically rejected by the AP Information and Public Relations Minister Perni taramaiah (Nani). 


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