Actress Sumalatha upsets JD(S), Cong plans in Mandya

Actress Sumalatha upsets JD(S), Cong plans in Mandya

Actress Sumalatha Ambarish. File photo.

Actress Sumalatha’s decision to contest as an independent from Mandya Lok Sabha seat, where JD(S) has fielded Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy's son Nikhil, has upset the calculations of the ruling coalition, especially with the BJP now extending support to her.

Under the seat-sharing agreement between Congress and the JD(S), the Mandya constituency in the Vokkaliga heartland was left to former prime minister H D Deve Gowda's party which holds sway in the region.

Sumalatha’s husband Ambareesh, a popular Kannada film star who died last year, had represented the seat thrice -- two times on Congress ticket and once as Janata Dal candidate.

The Mandya seat has become a prestige issue for the JD(S) as party patriarch Deve Gowda is launching his grandson Nikhil Gowda into politics with this contest. Sumalatha’s decision to fight from the seat has left the JD(S) fuming. The party had won all the eight assembly segments under the Lok Sabha constituency in the 2018 Assembly elections.

"Sumalatha is having so much of power aspiration and she is knocking on the doors of BJP….. Now people are getting the reality. The BJP is playing all these things. Voters of Mandya will not entertain such dirty politics. We will retain the Mandya seat," JD(S) spokesperson Ramesh Babu told PTI.

PWD minister and Deve Gowda's son H D Revanna has also attacked Sumalatha for deciding to join politics soon after Ambareesh’s passing away.

The JD(S) sitting MP from Mandya L R Shivarame Gowda is apparently upset as he has not been given ticket to contest from Mandya though he won in the bypolls a few months ago, according to party sources.

Early his month, Shivarame Gowda met Congress leaders N Chaluvarayaswamy and Balakrishna and BJP leaders MLA Dr Ashwathanarayan and C P Yogeshwar.

The Congress has meanwhile directed all its workers to back the JD(S) candidate Nikhil Gowda.

"Congress will not support Sumalatha. Our eight MLA candidates (under Mandya Lok Sabha seat), 16 block presidents, district Congress committee, members of district, Taluk and Gram Panchayat and booth committee members have to abide by the KPCC," party spokesperson A N Nataraj Gowda told PTI.

The party has warned four Congress leaders who are rallying behind Sumalatha. State president Dinesh Gundu Rao has cautioned them and if they do not mend their ways, action would be taken against them, Nataraj Gowda said.

Sumalatha has already started aggressive election campaigning in Mandya much to the discomfort of JD(S) and Congress. The Congress tried some back channels to persuade her not to contest from Mandya but to no avail.

Ambareesh enjoyed a following in Mandya which he represented in Lok Sabha thrice from 1998 to 2009 and was the union minister of state for information and broadcasting for a small duration. He had left the Janata Dal and joined the Congress in 1999.

Sumalatha has alleged there is a threat to her life and requested the Election Commission to provide her security.

She said Mandya has become a sensitive seat as Chief Minister Kumaraswamy's son is contesting from there.

The actress cited the example of actor Darshan whose house at Rajarajeshwarinagar in the city was allegedly stoned a few days ago when he was not at home, as he had extended support to her.

The actress also called on BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa on Monday.