Mandya, Karnataka, Mar 17: Even before the filing of nominations, the sugar bowl of Karnataka, the Mandya Lok Sabha, constituency has been centre stage with the entry into the political arena by senior actress Sumalatha, wife of actor -politician late Ambareesh in the JD(S) strong bastion.
Though the Sumalatha yet to announce her entering the fray and from which party, she has started touring the entire constituency and is receiving huge support from the people. She has been actively campaigning in the district since last few days. But she has not made her plans public.
Ms. Sumalatha is weighing in all options and waiting for clarity between the coalition partners. In unequivocal terms, she said, “There is no question of contesting from any other constituency except Mandya because of the bonding my family has with the people of the district”.
Till the last minute Sumalatha waited for ticket from the Congress party, from which she wanted to contest. But now the segment has been left to JD(S) party under Congress-JD(S) pre-poll understanding. JD(S) has already declared the candidate in chief minister H D Kumraswamy’s actor son Nikhil Kumaraswmay.
So Sumalatha will have to contest as independent but BJP, which is yet to make their mind to filing candidate, is likely to support her boosting her chances. Many Congress leaders, including former CM Siddaramaiah, have made it clear that Mandya will be given to JD(S), as the constituency is represented by the JDS MP.
According to sources, the local Congress leaders, who have urged their party leaders to retain the constituency and field Sumalatha as the party candidate, are concerned over supporting the JD(S) candidate as that would completely erode the party's base. In 2018 assembly elections, the Congress had lost all seven assembly segments in the district to the JD(S) . But, the local leaders would still like to retain their own hold by extending support to an independent candidate; however, the party has to support the Nikhil kumaraswamy as per their seat sharing formula.
Nikhil kumraswamy has already started his election campaign in the constituency and hopefully to get majority support , since all the seven assembly constituencies are in their pocket besides MP, two MLCs and three cabinet ministers to supervise on field to retain the seat.
On the other hand Sumalatha Ambareesh aggressively touring around the constituency expecting sympathy from her husband Ambareesh’s death and his popularity not only as senior artists in the Kannada film land but as a true politician.
She has met the former chief minister and veteran politician S M Krishna who is now in BJP camp, seeking his support from him. On the other hand JD(S) leaders including PWD minister H D Revanna received wrath from the people of the Mandya for making bad remarks against Sumalatha. Later , Kumraswamy himself apologised for his brother’s remarks, but it had minimum effect.
In the meantime JD-S leaders are claiming that their candidate Nikhil Kumraswamy has an easy walk in the elections, however, the path is not easy as they expected. Since there was discomfort among the congress leaders in the district and how they will react in the polls will be the key factor.
The BJP, which has not hold in the constituency and feared very poorly in all the elections held so far, but wanted to make their presence in the elections which will be depend on their decision to filing candidate for support Sumalatha Ambareesh. The filing nominations start from March 19 with eligible 16.9 lakh voters in the constituency. UNI