Election of the South Indian Artists Association popularly known as Nadigar Sangam was held on Sunday (June 23). While actor Kamal Haasan, Surya and Vijay cast their vote, Rajinikanth who is in Mumbai for a shooting, regretted not being able to cast his vote.
Over 1,200 actors had voted till 2pm, according to sources, while reports said that some actors complained about not being allowed to vote.
The elections were held after the Madras High Court lifted a stay on the polls on a complaint by 61 members of the association who said their voting powers were removed. However, following a representation from the office-bearers of the association, the stay was lifted.
Late on Saturday, Rajinikanth tweeted saying that he would not be able to cast the vote because of the delay in getting the postal votes.
“I am currently shooting in Mumbai. I received my postal vote for the Nadigar Sangam elections only at 6:45 pm this evening, despite the efforts I took to receive it earlier. I regret that I was unable to cast my vote because of this delay. It is strange and unfortunate. This should not have happened…,” he said in the tweet.
— Rajinikanth (@rajinikanth) June 22, 2019
Reacting to it, Kamal Haasan asked people not to look for any conspiracy in the delay of postal votes. “It is the postal department’s delay. We should ensure that it does not happen the next time. Rajini’s vote is as important as anybody else’s. He was really interested to vote,” he said.
While the core issue of the fiercely fought election is the Nadigar Sangam’s building being built in the centre of the city, there has been a call by some to change the name of the association.
Senior actor Vijayakumar expressed his wish to change the name of the association into ‘Tamil Thai Nadigar Sangam’.
“Earlier, Chennai (then Madras) was the birthplace for Tamil, Telugu, Kanada and Kerala cinema. So, we had the name as South India Film Artists Association. But now they have moved on and they have their own associations. There is nothing wrong with people from other language cinemas being members of the association, but I wish we could change the name,” he said.
Actor Prakash Raj also echoed Vijayakumar. Commenting on the matter, Kamal Haasan said that he would find it difficult if he changes his name. “But, I would accede to the views of the majority people,” Haasan said.
The polls are being held to elect a president, two vice-presidents, a general secretary, treasurer and 24 members of the executive committee.
The fight is between the Pandavar Ani led by incumbent general secretary Vishal and Swami Sankaradas Ani led by veteran director and actor K Bhagyaraj.
The last election held in October 2015 was also mainly concentrated towards constructing an own building for the Nadigar Sangam. Promising that they would set up their own building, Vishal’s Pandavar Ani pulled off a thrilling victory against the then incumbent general secretary Sarathkumar, who held the post for nine years.
Vishal has however been not able to complete the construction of the building, raising questions over his leadership. This also led to his close aides Ishri Ganesh and actor Udhaya switching sides to Bhagyaraj’s group.
Whoever wins the election will have the daunting task of completing the building, which insiders say would be difficult as it requires a minimum of Rs 20 crores.
But the new office-bearers of the association are not likely to be announced immediately as the Madras High Court has asked that results of the Nadigar Sangam elections not be declared. It had earlier stayed the election, and later lifted the stay.