Film actor M.H. Ambareesh is not new to politics; he has even been a Union Minister, but perhaps he has never worked this hard to translate adulation to an electoral victory.
It is, after all, a matter of prestige this time, considering the high drama that preceded the selection of candidates in the district.
Braving the scorching sun, Mr. Ambareesh is criss-crossing the constituency and appealing to people to provide him an opportunity to serve his “native land.” When The Hindu caught up with the actor, he was campaigning in Ummadahalli. Issues such as the Cauvery dispute do not figure in his address, but the “Mandyada gandu” is making an emotional appeal.
After participating in a public meeting addressed by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in Mandya, Mr. Ambareesh was relaxing at his friend’s residence. But, he was fuming as according to him, a few TV channels “misinterpreted” his absence on the dais.
“Who would refuse an opportunity to share the dais with Mr. Gandhi? My wife (actor Sumalatha) spoke on my behalf,” he said.
Later, when some TV reporters came to meet him, Mr. Ambareesh showered the choicest abuses on them.
Asked about his opponents, he said: “I don’t want to speak ill of anybody. I know the mind of the people and they will bless me.”
Fatigue was visible on the actor’s face and his feet were swollen. “Age is catching up with me. Physically, it is difficult to connect with the electorate. However, I have completed touring over 95 villages so far. I will finish touring the remaining in the next two days,” he said.
A few days ago, Mr. Ambareesh said that this would be the last time he contested. “Of late, it has become difficult to cope with the stress. However, I cannot predict the future.”
Will his son Abhishek Gowda replace him if he retires from politics? “Never, never. Enough is enough. I don’t want Abhishek to enter politics. Let others come and grow in politics,” he added.