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TANA settles dispute, Kakarala reinstated as president

March 14, 2009 03:46 IST

After a virtual split that lasted almost six months, leaders of the Telugu Association of North America have resolved all the issues amicably.

As per the settlement, Prabhakar Choudary Kakarala has been reinstated as the President.

"We are really happy about the settlement. It is good for the community as a whole," Kakarala told The cases filed by the group led by Kakarala and the group led by Jayaram Komati were all withdrawn.

"We will work as a united organization. In a joint meeting we found it meaningless to continue the fight and the disputes. We decided not to look at old things or blame anybody," Prasad Thotakura, general secretary of TANA said.

"We found that only the attorneys benefited from the quarrels," he noted.

The governing board, presided over by interim president Jayaram Komaty, decided to reinstate Kakarala, whom it removed in September last year.

'We are glad that we are able to reconcile our differences without compromising our values. We look forward to working together with mutual respect and serve our great organization with integrity, unity, dignity, and accountability,' the leaders said in a statement after the issues were settled.

'As the premier Telugu organization in North America with more than 30 years of history, we will continue our unified march towards our goals of preserving and propagating Telugu language and culture and serving the needs of the ever expanding North American Telugu Community. Shared cultural heredity is our foundation,' it said.

TANA is one of the largest Indian organizations in the US and a split in it upset most people. The 17th national conference is scheduled for July in Chicago.

The crisis arose after the governing board removed Kakarala as president. The board found that Kakarala consistently disobeyed the bylaws of the organization despite many warnings. The board also elected executive vice president Jayaram Komati as interim president.

In his turn, Kakarala, a certified accountant in Houston, called a general body in Atlanta, Georgia, and removed the leaders of the other group led by Jayaram Komati and Prasad Thotakura. It also took decision to hold the 17th national conference in Orlando, Florida.

This was a contentious issue even before the split. Initially the TANA board decided to conduct the conference in Orlando but later decided to move it to Chicago.

Rooms were booked in Orlando. But since there is unity now, the leaders are negotiating with the hotel to avoid penalty for canceling the rooms. In any case, nobody will be penalized personally for the possible charges there, if any, leaders said.

"The settlement was done with the best of interests of TANA in mind, to put an end to law suits and to work with unity and trust according to TANA bylaws. It is good for the whole Telugu community and everyone is geared up to celebrate the conference in July with unity," Thotakura, who is contesting as the president-elect for 2011-2013 said.

The election is scheduled for next week (March 23). Tirumala Rao from New York is challenging Thotakura, who hails from Dallas, Texas. Komati, current president-elect will take charge as president during the convention for two years.

Kakarala thanked the board and Komati. "I am happy that we are able to reconcile our differences in an amicable manner. I am looking forward to working closely with the Governing Board, the Chicago Conference Committee and TANA membership in a spirit of unity, harmony and service," he said.

"I am certain that we can put behind our recent distraction and embark on a journey of service. I invite all to come together and join us as we celebrate the 17th TANA conference," he said.

Komati welcomed Kakarala back and expressed his confidence that it is going to be the beginning of a new chapter in TANA's history. 

George Joseph in New York