Nadigar Sangam elections a star-studded affair, but with a few tense moments
Lower turnout in polls; Mohan left disappointed again
Elections for Nadigar Sangam for the period 2019-2022 were underway at St Ebba's School, Mylapore, on Sunday, and were contested between the teams led by Nasser and Bhagyaraj, dubbed Pandavar Ani and Swami Sankaradas Ani respectively. While devoid of the drama of the last elections, it was not without its moments.
First up, the elections were supposed to start at 7am, but started late by half an hour. Actor Arya, who rode to the venue on a bicycle decked in sports gear, said that he wished the elections hadn't happened in the first place, and that the teams had ironed out their differences.
Rajinikanth, on Saturday, had posted a message that he was unable to send a postal vote as it had reached him only after the deadline. Nasser, the incumbent president, clarified that their team should not be held responsible for this.
Meanwhile, veteran actor Mohan had a deja vu moment, when he realised, like in the last elections, that his vote had been cast by someone else. Speaking to us, he said, "I had actually confirmed availability before going, he rolls and yet, upon going there, I found that someone else had cast it. Last time around, there was a lot of hue and cry about this, but this time, I didn't speak to anyone at the venue about this. I am just amused that this has happened in an election which had fewer people voting."
Actor Pasupathy claimed that almost 20 percent of all postal votes have either been sent late/not received. He further said that they had asked for an extension of an hour owing to the hot weather but it remains to be seen whether that would be accepted.
Veteran actor Vijayakumar said that the Nadigar Sangam, which is currently named South Indian Actors Association (SIAA), should be renamed Thamizh Thaai Nadigar Sangam, given that each state has its own actors association. Vivek and Prakashraj seconded this idea.
Actor-politician Kamal Haasan requested the media not to spread conspiracy theories on why Rajinikanth did not receive his postal vote on time and said he would rather blame the postal department for the delay. When asked pointedly if he felt that the elections were influenced by political parties, he replied in the negative.
While top actors like Suriya, Vijay, and Vikram came out to vote, others like Ajith, Dhanush, Simbu and Vijay Sethupathi were conspicuous by their absence. As for the female actors, there were more absentees, with only Varalaxmi Sarathkumar being a notable exception.
The venue was selected as late as last night with Sangeetha of Swami Sankaradas Ani indicating that this was the biggest reason for the numbers being as low. Only 1,603 votes were cast of the total 3,171 members.
Isari Ganesh, who is standing for the post of General Secretary from the Swami Sankaradas Ani, said, "We expected around 1,950 people to vote and we have fallen short by 350 votes. We do not know why, but the uncertainty over the elections and the venue could have been a factor. Also, I don't think postal votes were handled well at all."
The voting boxes were sealed and taken to the South Indian Bank, and as per the court orders, will not be counted until further notice.