Rebel star hangs up his political boots, cites ill-health

Ambareesh caricature

Congress leader and ‘rebel’ star M H Ambareesh on Tuesday announced his retirement from electoral politics, ending the suspense over his contesting the May 12 Assembly polls.

“I am growing old. I don’t want to contest the elections. Let the party field anybody from Mandya constituency,” the 66-year-old leader told reporters.

The Congress had given him the ticket to contest from Mandya seat, but he had not collected the ‘B form’ from the party. He cited his ill-health as a reason for not being able to campaign for the polls.

“I cannot do justice to people of the constituency even if I am elected. Hence, the decision to retire from the electoral politics,” he stated.

Asked why he refused to contest at the last minute, he said he had informed the party high command that he was not in a position to contest. Yet, he was given the ticket.

The party is free to field any other leader from Mandya constituency, he added. He also said that he had not recommended anybody’s name as his replacement to the Mandya seat.

In an embarrassment to the Congress, Ambareesh said he was against Chief Minister Siddaramaiah contesting from two seats (Chamundeshwari and Badami).

“He (Siddaramaiah) had been saying that he will contest from Chamundeshwari. And he should have stuck to his stand. Losing and winning are common in politics. A leader has to fight,” he added.

Asked whether he would campaign for Siddaramaiah in Chamundeshwari constituency in Mysuru, the actor said, “Siddaramaiah is a tall leader. He has given many Bhagya schemes (subsidy schemes) as the chief minister...I am not in a position to campaign for anybody.”

He also revealed that KPCC working president Dinesh Gundu Rao had told him that he had fewer chances of winning in Mandya and that it had hurt him.

Later, AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka K C Venugopal met Ambareesh and tried to persuade him to campaign for the party in the elections.

But he is said to have not given any assurance in this regard.

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