Cong, JD(S) offered sops so I don’t contest: Sumalatha

Cong, JD(S) offered sops so I don’t contest: Sumalatha

Sumalatha Ambareesh speaking at a meet the press at Press Club in Bengaluru on Thursday. (DH Photo)

Actor Sumalatha, who is contesting from Mandya as an independent candidate, revealed on Thursday that both the Congress and the JD(S) tried to dissuade her from contesting the election by making various offers, including a ticket to Rajya Sabha. 

"I have been facing tremendous pressure. Contesting elections was a difficult choice," Sumalatha said during an interaction with reporters. The wife of late actor-turned-politician Ambareesh is up against Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil, in what promises to be an epic battle. 

"While Congress offered me a ticket from any constituency in Bengaluru and assured that I would be made a Rajya Sabha member, the JD(S) offered to nominate me as a member of the Legislative Council followed by a ministerial berth," she said. 

However, she said the people of Mandya and several Congress workers urged her to contest from Mandya alone either from a Congress ticket or an independent. The Congress denied her the ticket as the Mandya Lok Sabha seat was conceded to the JD(S). 

There is dissension among Congress leaders in Mandya because the party leadership did not consult them over fielding a candidate in the constituency, Sumalatha said. “Today, several Congress leaders and party workers are reluctant to back the JD(S) candidate,” she said.  A section of Congress leaders has been tacitly supporting Sumalatha, much to the displeasure of the Congress-JD(S) coalition. 

She took a dig at JD(S) leaders for personal attacks based on her caste. "Such personal attacks, only to meet political ends, is against our culture. In his long political career, Ambareesh hadn't spoken ill of any candidate for the sake of winning elections," she said. 

To JD(S) MP L R Shivarame Gowda's casteist remarks, she quipped that his remarks were probably out of frustration as he was not allowed to continue as MP for more than six months and his party had sidelined him.

On her comments that chief minister H D Kumaraswamy was indulging in 'crooked politics', she justified the same stating that they had submitted proof regarding the misuse of official machinery. On whether the State was still tapping her phone following the complaint, she said that the authorities should investigate the matter and ensure that it is not continued, she added.

On BJP backing her candidature, she said that BJP had offered her unconditional support after she met BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa. Even before BJP, Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha had agreed to back me, she added.