Chennai: In by far one of the most bitterly fought elections to various posts of South Indian Artistes' Association (SIAA), young hero Vishal Reddy led 'Pandavar Ani' (Pandava Team) virtually swept the polls, capturing all five top posts even as the bitter sparring between the rivals seemed to give way to camaraderie.
Veteran actor M Nasser, Vishal and Si Karthi were elected President, General Secretary and Treasurer respectively trouncing candidates from the opposition camp led by outgoing SIAA head R Sarath Kumar.
Their fellow candidates Ponvannan and Karunaas were elected as Vice-Presidents, leaving nothing for the rival camp.
A visibly exhausted Kumar, also an MLA, sought to underplay his defeat, saying loss and win were common in democratically held elections and that he was ready to extend support to Nasser and his colleagues for smooth functioning of SIAA.
He also extended his greetings to the winning members, with his supporters and losing candidates, Radha Ravi and SSR Kannan, following suit.
New President-elect Nasser said that the winning side was experiencing an "unexplainable feeling" and said it will take some time for it to settle down.
The seasoned actor-director said that this election was not about defeating anyone, but an opportunity for change and insisted that"we are united," despite the hectic campaign carried out by either group against each other.
"I hugged Sarath Kumar and thanked him while getting emotional," a beaming Nasser said while crediting Vishal with inspiring the side, describing him as the 'spearhead'.
Vishal, who had gone on a busy campaign schedule, sometimes meeting theatre artistes in other parts of the state seeking their support, thanked Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and police department for providing adequate security during polls.
He also thanked retired Madras High Court Judge, Justice E Padmanabhan for conducting smooth elections as a High Court appointed Presiding Officer besides the media.
The victory sparked off celebrations by Vishal's supporters who burst crackers.
Earlier in the day, the polling saw its bit of drama, with Vishal allegedly being heckled and pushed, with the actor suspecting some outsider of attacking him in the process.
His supporters had also alleged bogus voting and charged the opposite camp with deliberately resorting to violence, which were stoutly denied by Kumar.
Industry veterans including 'Superstar' Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan had insisted that post-elections, there should be unity between the members, with the former congratulating the possible winners well in advance and asking them to go the extra mile to implement promises, else they should resign voluntarily.