After raking up many controversies, the elections for the South Indian Film Artistes’ Association (SIFAA), popularly known as Nadigar Sangam, ended at 5 pm on Sunday. The election to the film actors’ union saw 1,604 votes polled by closing time.
The election was held at St Eba’s girls school in Mylapore from 7 am to 5 pm amidst heavy police protection as ordered by the Madras High Court. Two factions from within the union were contesting in the elections. While the incumbent office-bearers led by actor Nasser formed the Pandavar ani, the other faction, named Swami Sankaradas ani, was led by veteran actor-director Bhagyaraj. As of 5 pm on Sunday, 1,604 votes were polled out of a total of 3,171 votes in the union.
The run-up to this year’s election was mired in controversy as the Registrar of Societies had cancelled the elections citing irregularities in the electoral roll. However, the Madras High Court ordered a stay on the Registrar’s order and gave a go-ahead for the elections. On Saturday evening, the court also fixed St Eba’s Girls School as the location for polling and ordered Chennai police to provide adequate security for the smooth conduct of the polls.
Actor ‘Mic’ Mohan’s vote polled as bogus
Actor Mohan, who came to vote in the elections, was in for a surprise as he found out that his vote had already been cast by someone else. Shocked by this, Mohan reportedly approached the electoral officer, retired Justice Padmanabhan with all his documents and informed him of the issue. However, though the electoral officer allowed Mohan to cast his vote, his vote was allegedly not put inside the ballot box.
Outstation artistes complain of not being allowed to vote
A few actors from out of Chennai who had travelled a long way to reach in time for the polling complained that they were not allowed to vote for various reasons. While a group of three drama artistes from Dharmapuri were allegedly not allowed to vote since they had postal ballots, a senior woman actor was not allowed to vote despite her possessing valid documents.
The election which happens once in three years took place previously in 2015 in the same location. Actor Nasser won that election and took charge as the President of the union. Actor Vishal became the General Secretary and actor Karthi was posted as the Treasurer of the union.
The counting of votes polled today will be done on a date which will be informed later by the electoral officer.