Elections in India are difficult to imagine without the involvement of the tinsel town. For the upcoming Assembly polls in the State too, an array of film personalities are throwing their hats into the electoral ring.
From veteran actors Ambareesh and Umashri of the Congress to glamour girls Rakshita and Pooja and the youthful Mayur Patel in BSR Congress, the celluloid colour is all too obvious on the poll canvas. But strangely, getting party tickets may not be a cakewalk for many of them as this report suggests.
Bidari hurdle for Umashri
Ask veteran actor Umashri where she would be contesting the Assembly elections from, she says, “Terdal,” without batting an eyelid. She seems not perturbed by rumours that retired police officer Shankar Bidari is also eyeing the constituency.
Umashri, 56, has made Terdal her home for the last five years. She moved there from Bangalore as she wanted to shed the tag of an outsider. She had lost the polls in 2008 to Siddu Savadi of the BJP by a margin of 12,224 votes. But, that has not deterred her.
Ask her if she is ready to contest from elsewhere, if she has to make way for Bidari, pat comes the reply, “All I know is Terdal. We did well in the urban local body polls here. Bidari has said he is ready to contest from anywhere in Karnataka. But, I can’t do that because I do not have a choice, but contest from Terdal.”
Umashri is a general secretary in the State unit of the Congress, party observer for Bijapur district and a special invitee to the election committee. She was the chairperson of the party’s backward classes department. Yet, there is no definite indication from the party that she is the preferred choice. If her work is recognised, then she will make it, leaders in the district say.
Contesting from Mandya town may not be that easy for actor Ambareesh, who prefers that constituency to Srirangapatna, where he contested in 2008 and lost.
This, after the Congress did better in Mandya than in Srirangapatna in the ULB elections. But supporters of former minister M S Atmananda want their leader to contest from Mandya.
In Mysore on Saturday, a section of the supporters of Atmananda walked up to Ambareesh and requested him not to think about Mandya, but try his luck elsewhere. He just heard them, repeatedly wiped his face and walked back to the room where he was staying.
Ambareesh is said to have passed the buck to the Congress high command, stating that the final decision on the candidature could be spelt out only by senior leaders in New Delhi.
Atmananda had successfully contested from Mandya constituency and was the horticulture minister in the Cabinet of then chief minister M Veerappa Moily. However, he was defeated consecutively in the last two elections.
Ambareesh has a tough challenge to prove that he is indeed the ‘Mandyada Gandu’.
Mayur for Mahadevapura
Another actor testing the political waters is the young Mayur Patel, son of producer Madan Patel and general secretary of BSR Congress. Mayur is set to make his electoral debut from Mahadevapura, a reserved constituency in Bangalore. Madan said he will lock horns with Minister Aravind Limbavali.
Madan, 29, has a diploma from Roshan Taneja’s acting school in Mumbai. He has so far acted in 19 movies in Kannada, Tamil and Telugu. He began his career a decade ago with Yograj Bhat’s movie ‘Mani’. Some of his other movies are ‘Love Story’, ‘Passenger’ and ‘Slum’.
Madan says though his family stays in Indiranagar, the family business is in Mahadevapura. Hence, Mayur chose Mahadevapura. Madan, on the other hand, is undecided on contesting the elections. If he does, it may be from Chamarajanagar district.
Have to obey the boss
Sriramulu’s BSR Congress is struggling to get candidates to field from the 224 constituencies in the State. But two actresses in the party who are eager to contest are Rakshita Prem and Pooja Gandhi. Sources in the party said Rakshita may be fielded from Badami, and Pooja from Raichur town. But the party-hopping Pooja is keen on contesting only from a seat in Bangalore, it is said. Sources said the party leaders will campaign for the duo, provided they contest from constituencies where Sriramulu wields some influence, and definitely not in Bangalore.