Sumalatha to remain neutral in bypoll to KR Pet seat

Sumalatha Ambareesh. DH file photo

Member of Parliament from Mandya constituency Sumalatha Ambareesh on Sunday said she has decided to remain neutral in the by-election to K R Pete assembly segment, putting to rest speculations on whether she would support the BJP or Congress.

"I'm not involved in campaigning, because in my opinion people have voted and blessed me to work, there is nothing that I will have to take part in all elections," Sumalatha, also a popular multilingual actress said.

Speaking to reporters here, she said, "I don't want to hurt anyone, because in my election everyone has helped me. BJP strongly stood by me without fielding a candidate and campaigned for me, at the same time it is because of Congress party workers in Mandya I contested for Lok Sabha." "If I participate in the bypolls on behalf of either party, it will hurt the other, so I have decided to be neutral," she added.

Recently Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had said he expects Sumalatha's support for BJP candidate Narayana Gowda in K R Pete. Congress leaders in Mandya district also had similar expectations. Sumalatha, who contested as an independent candidate, had defeated the then Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy's son Nikhil of JD(S) by 1,25,876 votes in Mandya Lok Sabha constituency, that saw a bitterly contested campaign.

The Mandya Lok Sabha election had catapulted it to the national limelight, with the contest projected as a cliffhanger between Nikhil, who was the candidate of Congress-JD(S) combine, and Sumalatha Ambareesh was backed by the BJP. Sumalatha had initially sought a Lok Sabha ticket from Congress, the party from which her late husband popular actor-turned-politician M H Ambareeshhad represented Mandya in the past, but it was denied citing coalition compulsions as it had to cede the constituency to JD(S), as per the seat-sharing arrangement.

She declared her candidature as an independent, but the move irked Kumaraswamy and the JD(S) leadership, who were once close to Ambareesh, as they gauged she might be a threat for them in their backyard. All was not well between the alliance partners, as several Congress leaders and workers miffed over their party's decision to cede the seat to JD(S), did not campaign for Nikhil, upset over certain comments by Kumaraswamy allegedly against them.

Many party leaders and workers had extended support to Sumalatha and had campaigned for her openly with the Congress flag.

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