Polling for various posts to South Indian Artistes’ Association today turned murky with alleged allegations of physical assault and bogus voting being made by one of the sides.
Actor Vishal Reddy, leading the campaign against incumbent SIAA President R Sarath Kumar, was allegedly heckled and pushed and sustained injuries but insisted that the “election will not stop”.
“Whoever attacks, election will not stop. We are actors, we are against violence. Not just me, some women were also targeted,” an emotional Vishal told reporters but declined to say who had attacked him.
He suspected that his alleged attacker could be an outsider.
He sought additional police protection for women and said that his team will not rest till the elections were over and votes counted.
Top Tamil comedian Vadivelu alleged that Vishal was forcefully pushed and heckled, recreating the scene that happened inside the polling booth before the actor stormed out with his supporters.
“There are efforts to stop polling by resorting to violence but that is not going to happen. Police should strengthen security as a women actor was abused and attacked,” he alleged.
Meanwhile, police said after some confusion was noticed, a police team was sent to handle the situation.
Comedienne, ‘Kovai’ Sarala, alleged that bogus voting was happening as an actor had discovered that his vote had already been cast when he came to exercise his franchise.
However, actor Ramki, a supporter of Sarath Kumar, denied any wrongdoing and said polling was proceeding smoothly.
He said “there might be some emotions,” with so many actors and their fans around but denied there was any attack.
Meanwhile, polling is continuing at brisk pace.
Later, Sarath Kumar, addressing reporters, denied there was any attack on Vishal or any others.
He alleged that one of the actors was canvassing for votes inside the polling booth “to which we raised objection and I lead the actor out,” he said.
There was later only an argument outside the polling booth and no violence as alleged by the supporters of Vishal, he said, adding, police were dutifully managing the situation.
On the issue of bogus voting, Kumar said the election was being monitored by a former High Court judge on the directions of the Court and that his appointed staff were on duty.
He said senior actor Mohan, whose vote the other side alleged had been cast by someone else, had been allowed to exercise his franchise by the poll observer.
Both sides had made representation in this regard to ensure that Mohan cast his vote, Kumar said.
Making light of actor Vadivelu’s allegation that violence was resorted to for stopping the poll, he said he was a ‘comedian and will therefore talk like that.’