Pained over 'regionalism' dominating the just-concluded Movie Artists Association (MAA) elections, acclaimed actor Prakash Raj on Monday announced his resignation from Tollywood's apex industry body. Raj quit as a member of the MAA hours after he was defeated by Manchu Vishnu, son of the veteran actor Mohan Babu, by 107 votes in the bitterly contested election on Sunday. Their intense campaigning made the elections feel like state elections. They were a part of many debates of major news channels. Prakash was portrayed as an ‘outsider’ by Manchu.
While the polls saw a huge turnout, there were a few star actors and actresses who have skipped the elections., Naga Chaitanya NTR Jr, Prabhas, Venkatesh, Allu Arjun, Mahesh Babu, Nithiin, Rana Daggubati, Ravi Teja and Naga Chaitanya didn’t turn up to vote. Among the actresses, Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Anushka Shetty, Rakul Preet, Trisha, Hansika and Ileana D'Cruz also didn’t vote.
Actors like Chiranjeevi, Balakrishna, Nagarjuna, Pawan Kalyan, Akhil Akkineni, Mohan Babu and Nani were present to cast their votes.
Meanwhile, Prakash Raj was reportedly upset because he was dubbed a non-Telugu by the rival group. Stating that his self-respect does not allow him to continue in the MAA, he made it clear however that he would continue to act in Telugu films and maintain his relationship with the industry and fans.
"You wanted a Telugu to be elected to the post," Raj said at the news conference where he announced his resignation, ending his 21-year-old association with the industry body. "The members supported you and they elected a Telugu 'bidda' (son). As an artiste, I have self-respect, hence I am resigning from the MAA membership," he added.
Actor Naga Babu, brother of megastar Chiranjeevi, who had declared his support for Prakash Raj also said he was quitting the MAA.
"Seniors such as Mohan Babu, Kota Srinivas Rao and Ravi Kumar openly said that when you come as a guest you should stay as a guest," Raj said. "Hence I have decided to continue as only a guest."
The actor pointed out that the Vishnu panel had even promised to amend MAA bye-laws to ensure non-Telugu members did not contest the elections. "I am not a Telugu 'bidda'," he said. "My parents weren't Telugu. It is neither their fault, nor mine."
(With inputs from IANS)
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