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Nadigar Sangam Election Results: 'Pandavar Ani' Wins, Nasser elected president

Amidst much drama and intense campaigning, the South Indian Film Artistes Association, also known as...

Nadigar Sangam Election Results: 'Pandavar Ani' Wins, Nasser elected president
Amidst much drama and intense campaigning, the South Indian Film Artistes Association, also known as the Nadigar Sangam, conducted its elections on Sunday.

After several weeks of intense campaigning, lots of needless controversy, a bitter battle of words between the two camps, never-seen-before media frenzy and the incident-packed polling process today, the results of the Nadigar Sangam elections are being declared now.

Nasser, part of the 'Pandavar Ani' with Vishal, Karthi, Karunas and Ponvannan, has been elected Nadigar Sangam president, with 1344 votes. Sarath Kumar polled 1231 votes.

Vishal has been elected Nadigar Sangam general secretary, with 1445 votes. His rival Radha Ravi polled 1138 votes. Election official Justice E. Padmanabhan officially announced the results. Karthi has been elected the treasurer, polling 1493 votes.

In the Vice President category which had 2 posts up for grabs, the candidates were Simbu, Vijayakumar, Karunaas, Ponvannan and Mohankumar. The 2 winners are Karunaas and Ponvannan, again from the Pandavar Ani.

So that makes it a clean 5-0 sweep for the Pandavar Ani against Sarath Kumar's team. This is a complete overhaul by Vishal's team and a totally new set of office bearers are going to take charge of the Nadigar Sangam.
I accept this conclusion, says Sarath Kumar. "It is like losing in a game. There was no corruption in the deal that we signed. I will co-operate and support Nasser. If they don't go through with the deal, we will once again explain the deal in General Body meeting."

Nasser said, "I thank all my fellow artists and legendary actors even people above 85 years. It's a historic turn out. We will always be together ... Myself and Sarath kumar are still friends and will work together. We want to enjoy this victory. Though I'm the leader, Vishal is mainly responsible 4 this victory."

Vishal said that he is happy just because so many members came out to vote in the elections today, even in wheel chairs. He also thanked the cops and CM Amma for the secure atmosphere and fair election has happened.

The elections are held once in three years, and during the last election in 2012, Sarath kumar was re-elected, unopposed for the third time.

Nadigar Sangam The Complete Story

The South Indian Film Actors Association generally known as Nadigar Sangam was formed in the year 1952 by the initiatives of legendary actors Sivaji Ganesan, MGR, M.R.Radha and others of the time. M.G.R. contributed Rupees forty thousand and with a contribution of another forty thousand from members a ninety nine cent land was bought in the prime locality of Habibullah Road T. Nagar, and a building with a screening hall , a gym and an office were built and inaugurated by the then Chief Minister M.G.R. in the year 1977.

Later the association had huge debts to the tune of 4.5crores which was paid back by the then President Vijayakanth after conducting a star night in Singapore and Malaysia in the year 2002. After Vijayakanth floated his own political party after a request from actor S.Ve. Shekar that no politician should be the president Vijayakanth stepped down and Sarathkumar became the President and Radharavi became the Secretary.

In the year 2010 a decision is taken that the old building should be demolished and a new one be built. After much delibration President Sarathkumar and Radharavi sign an agreement on 25.11.2010 with Sathyam Cinemas in which the ninety nine cents land will be leased out to the company for thirty years who will build a seven storey multiplex allotting one floor for Nadigar Sangam use and during the stipulated period Sathyam will pay Rupees Twenty Six lakhs per month to the Sangam after taking care of the complete maintainece. In March 2011 the existing building is demolished.

On 23.12.2012 a member of the three thousand strong association Poochi Murugan files a case in the court alleging that President Sarathkumar and Radharavi who are related to each other by marriage signed the agreement with Sathyam cinemas on their own whim and did not consult any other member and the required nine committee members have not signed or even stood witness. The case is still with the court thus preventing the building work to commence.

Young hero Vishal started raising questions as early as 2013 that the Sathyam Cinemas agreement should be cancelled and a new building should be built by the association itself. Sarath Kumar at that time replied that according this agreement there will be a regular income for the association which would go a long way in helping the poverty stricken members. Vishal has long claimed that the president had promised to lay the foundation for the building on 14th January 2014 failing which the alternative plan by Vishal and co would be followed. Vishal’s altercation with the top brass of the association continued when he questioned Nadigar Sangam’s inaction in the ‘Vishwaroopam’ issue and was issued a show cause notice. Following this a member K.N Kaalai allegedly called Vishal and his supporters a pack of dogs for which he later apologised.

From the beginning of 2015 Vishal became more vocal raising issues against the present office bearers demanding that the agreement with Sathyam be cancelled and some other alternative be looked into. Vishal went to the extent of saying that he will not marry until a building comes up at the now vacant land. Vishal also pointed out that the residents association of the neighbouring area of the Sangam as well as the Padma Sheshadri School have acquired a stary against building a multiplex in the area. When Sarathkumar and Radharavi did not give a reply that satisfied Vishal and his team finally they have decided to contest the elections with Nasser for President and Vishal for Secretary and Karthi for Treasurer.

Sarathkumar announced that the Nadigar Sangam elections will be held on the 15th of July and Vishal went to court seeking a reversal of the date to a second Sunday to facilitate all members to vote. The court has seeked an explanation within fifteen days.

In this scenario Vishal, Karthi, Nasser, Karunaas, Ponvannan and S.Ve Shekar are heading the team which has the support of Arya, Jayam Ravi, Jiiva, Ramya Krishnan and other mostly young actors. Vishal proposes that a new multistarrer with all the young actors or even few films with individual actors be made and the profits used to construct a building which will also have a marriage hall for the poor actors to conduct their family weddings free of costs.

Vishal even now has left the window open stating that if Sarathkumar cancels the Sathyam agreement his team will withdraw from the elections. Vishal and his team have travelled extensively in Tamil Nadu meeting stage actors who are integral members of the association seeking their support. Sarathkumar and Radharavi remain unfazed and have announced that they are ready to face the elections.

There is a view among some sections that since Vishal and his team are all busy actors some senior actors like Sivakumar and others could be fielded on behalf of the team.

Sarathkumar filed a defamation suit of Rs 10 crore against Vishal for raising allegations of financial impropriety against him. Now the Madras High Court is monitoring the election on October 18, Sunday and about 2,500-2,600 members are expected to cast their votes.

Two camps
Prominent faces of Team Sarathkumar comprises him (he’s also a politician), for president for a fourth term, his brother-in-law, actor Radha Ravi as general secretary and Silambarasan, a Tamil hero for the post of vice president.

Team Rebels, known as Pandavar Ani, comprises five leaders – Nasser, a fine Tamil actor for president, Vishal, 38-year old Tamil hero as general secretary, Ponvannan, Karunas and Karthi, a Tamil hero and the brother of leading actor Surya.

Who supports whom?
Team Sarathkumar looks like it’s losing its grip on the elections, with a seemingly weak team lead by Radha Ravi and Radkhika his half sister and Sarathkumar’s wife.

Many mainstream actors have now come out in support of the rebel camp including super star Kamal Hassan. Several other mainstream actors with nonconformist-left-liberal political backgrounds also declared their support for the rebel camp: Khushboo, an actor-turned-politician, and Rohini for example. Prakash Raj, a actor close to the Kamal Hassan camp and known for his political stand and statements against the beef ban is another rebel camp supporter.

Verbal spats galore
Sarathkumar’s wife Radhika, the spokesperson of her husband’s team, had called her husband’s arch rival Vishal by his caste name, Vishal Reddy. Many in the industry say this move allegedly to prove that Vishal is not a Tamilian in fact diminished her image with senior actors questioning her remarks when she herself has non-Tamil roots. Radhika’s final strategy was to invite rivals for negotiations, to avoid election, claiming that “an election would split the film fraternity”.

The rebel camp refused to accept the offer of negotiation maintaining that election is a democratic process.

How DMK and AIADMK play a role in Nadigar Sangam?
Although Nadigar Sangam was always in favour of the ruling party, whoever it may be, yesteryear actor and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa directed actors attached to her party to not contest the election, sending a strong message of keeping a safe distance from both camps. This is likely to benefit the rebel camp as Sarathkumar, who is in the alliance of AIADMK, hoped that Jayalalithaa would favour his team.

The rebel camp also benefits from DMK sympathisers in the artistes’ body. The friendship of Vishal and M K Stalin’s son and producer-turned-actor, Udayanidhi Stalin is known to everyone in the industry.

A love story in the backdrop
In the midst of this tight fight, many in the industry are curious about the relationship of Vishal from the rebel team and Varalakshmi, Sarathkumar’s daughter from his ex-wife, Chaya. Good old friends, who are known to have a relationship for several years, however, seem to have decided not to be seen together in public until the election. Varalakshmi told that she would cast her vote for her father. Vishalhas clarified that his personal life had nothing to do with the election.

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