It’s Sumalatha vs Kumaraswamy in Mandya

It’s Sumalatha vs Kumaraswamy in Mandya

Erappa was just 19 when he founded one of Mandya’s first fan clubs for actor Ambareesh. Now 58, Erappa has decided to put his weight behind the late actor’s wife Sumalatha in the upcoming Mandya Lok Sabha election.

"Ambareesh’s family never displayed duality. They’d help people if they can, or tell us upfront they can’t. That’s the goodwill Ambareesh has. Why wasn't his wife given the same kind of respect,” Erappa asks.

It is this sentiment that Sumalatha, an Independent, is banking on. She is up against Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil, the candidate of the JD(S)-Congress combine.

It remains to be seen, however, if Ambareesh’s legacy alone will help Sumalatha emerge victorious. The JD(S) and the Congress have been arch-rivals in this Vokkaliga-dominated district, but the regional party appears to have deeper roots.

It is clear that Sumalatha is enjoying the support of local Congress workers and of course, the BJP. What is not clear is whether she has enough strength in the booths where the election will be fought. The JD(S) is also running a whisper campaign that she is not a Vokkaliga, which translates into "she is not one of us."

The Mandya Lok Sabha constituency has eight Assembly segments whereas the district has seven, all of which the JD(S) swept in the Assembly polls last year. "But our vote last year was against Siddaramaiah, and not because we have any special love for the JD(S)," Ningappa, a farmer, says.

Several locals spew complaints against their legislators. The palpable anti-incumbency that has brewed in such a short span of time  - they were elected only last year - could become a factor going into polls.

Local farmers are especially aggrieved over water and the non-payment of dues to sugarcane growers.

"Our lands are dry. We aren’t getting enough water from the KRS reservoir," a farmer said. Also, farmers point out that the state-run Mysore Sugar Co Ltd (MySugar) factory here had become defunct. "The chief minister says he’ll construct a new factory, but what do we do with our standing crop,” they ask.

Also, Prime Minister Narendra Modi enjoys positive reputation with a section of locals here. But as one observer said, this election is between Sumalatha and Kumaraswamy.

Mandya Lok Sabha constituency



1) Nikhil Kumaraswamy - JD(S)-Congress

2) Sumalatha, Independent


Total number of voters: 16,67,801

Assembly segments: Malavalli, Maddur, Melukote, Mandya, Srirangapattana, Nagamangala, Krishnarajpet, Krishnarajanagara - all JD(S).


2014 Results:

Winner: C S Puttaraju - JD(S)

Votes polled: 5,24,370

Nearest rival: Ramya - Congress

Votes polled: 5,18,852