Ramesh Pisharody demands by-law amendments in AMMA elections

Actor Ramesh Pisharody wrote to the newly elected leadership of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA), expressing disapproval of certain technicalities in conducting the elections. He stated that in a democratic election, the person who secures the most votes must be declared the winner. He pointed out that he wasn’t selected for the executive committee despite winning the required number of votes, as the by-law of the association states that at least four women should be included in the committee. He has called for an amendment to the by-laws to avoid any loopholes or technical errors while ensuring the reservation for women. Pisharody was left out because the women who contested the election had to be included in the committee, even though they failed to secure the votes, to fulfil the reservation criterion.

His letter read: “I am writing officially to the newly elected leadership of the association to point out a serious issue regarding the elections. In a democratic election, the candidate who secures the most votes must be declared the winner; only then would it represent the actual choice of the people. The person who secured more votes being left out to include someone who failed to get as many votes is tantamount to cancelling the popular opinion.

As per the by-law of our association, there should be at least four women on the committee. So, I had to give up my seat to fulfil this reservation criterion. Even though I have no complaints about it, some members who had voted for me lamented about wasting their vote. I couldn’t give them any explanation regarding the same when they expressed their displeasure. Moreover, we could have avoided the situation where the media reported that I had lost the elections; that too when those who got far fewer votes than me were declared winners.

It was the responsibility of the association’s leadership to make such things clear in the press release. There is no point in blaming the media or the public, even when the members of the association had no idea about what had happened in the elections.
The male members were ready to withdraw our nominations had we been informed about the reservation criterion, to avoid an election to the executive committee.
The easiest way to implement the reservation is to reserve four seats for women. Male members shouldn’t be allowed to contest those seats.
Even though you could argue that such complications wouldn’t have happened if a woman had won the elections and that the by-laws explain everything, the above suggestions could be considered to implement ‘democracy’ in its truest sense.

I would have raised this issue even if I were elected to the committee and someone else had faced such a situation. This letter is not a complaint or a grievance, but just pointing out a technical problem that needs to be fixed. Moreover, I demand an amendment to the by-laws in a reasonable manner as women’s reservation is a necessity. I congratulate all the winners and express my gratitude to everyone who voted for me.”