The Andhra Pradesh state government has nothing to do with the elections to Movie Artists Association (MAA), the apex body of Tollywood, said the Minister for Information and Public Relations Perni Nani on Monday. His clarification came amid reports that the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government is backing a particular faction in the MAA elections scheduled to be held on October 10.
Neither Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, the YSR Congress nor the Andhra Pradesh government has anything to do with the MAA, Venkataramaiah said. The elections to the representative body of the Telugu film industry are considered prestigious by the fraternity.
Actor Prakash Raj, who is contesting for the post of MAA president thanked the chief minister and minister for the clarification. He took to Twitter to thank the Andhra leaders. Prakash Raj had earlier slammed the rival group for allegedly claiming that he had the support of Jagan Mohan Reddy in the elections. While campaigning for his panel, the actor criticised those dragging the names of politicians in the elections.
A total of 56 candidates are in the fray for elections to the 26-member body of MAA to be held on October 10. Groups led by Prakash Raj and Vishnu Manchu are locked in a direct contest for the MAA president's post. Several film personalities from both groups are in the fray for other key posts.
The MAA elections are being held in the backdrop of a bitter war of words between actor-politician Pawan Kalyan and Perni Nani and other Andhra Pradesh ministers over the issue of online sale of movie tickets in the state.
The Jana Sena leader had hit out at the YSRCP government for its move to launch the online sale of tickets, saying this will harm the interests of the film industry. He also questioned the silence of veteran actor Babu Mohan, who is the father of Vishnu Manchu.
Telugu actor Chiranjeevi, the brother of Pawan Kalyan, has announced his support to the Prakash Raj group.
Meanwhile, Prakash Raj also came down heavily on outgoing MAA president Naresh for branding him non-Telugu. The actor claimed that nobody in Vishnu's panel can speak Telugu like him. He reiterated that he is trying to work sincerely for the welfare of artists.
(With IANS and PTI inputs)