Sumalatha Ambareesh set to join BJP, will not contest 2024 polls

Mandya set to witness a direct contest between Congress-JD (S)

Updated - April 03, 2024 02:02 pm IST

Published - April 03, 2024 01:53 pm IST - MYSURU

File photo of actor turned MP Sumalatha Ambareesh.

File photo of actor turned MP Sumalatha Ambareesh. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Incumbent Mandya MP Sumalatha Ambareesh, who won as an independent in 2019 elections, announced her decision to join the BJP and not contest the 2024 elections.

This has brought an end to the suspense over her next move which kept both the BJP and the Janata Dal (Secular) on tenterhooks as the two have entered into a pre-poll alliance with the BJP supporting the JD(S) candidate H.D. Kumaraswamy who is contesting from Mandya.

With Sumalatha withdrawing from the race and set to join the BJP, Mandya is ready to witness a direct contest between the Congress and the JD(S). In the 2019 elections, the BJP did not field a candidate from Mandya and indirectly supported Sumalatha while she reciprocated by supporting the BJP in the 2023 Assembly elections.

Ms. Sumalatha announced her decision not to contest the 2024 elections and join the BJP, at a public function in Mandya, on April 3.

Not trading Mandya for another constituency

 ‘’I am not contesting  the elections this year but this does not mean I am leaving Mandya. On the contrary you will see me, not as an Independent but as someone with the backing of the rank and file of a party whose leader envisages a developed India by 2047,” she said, giving her first hint of joining the BJP which was followed by her official announcement.

That she was set to join the BJP also stemmed from her remarks that Prime Minister Narendra Modi treated her with due respect, and notwithstanding the fact that she was an Independent MP, had released funds to the tune of ₹4000 crore for Mandya district, said Ms. Sumalatha said.

She also contrasted the respect she received from BJP leaders with the disdain displayed by the Congress and cited a senior party leader who was quoted as saying that the ‘’Congress had no need for Sumalatha in the past, has no need for her in the present and nor will it need her in future.”

“Such statements are an affront on the pride of my late husband, Ambareesh, who had valued self-esteem and respect and though some of my supporters wanted me to join the Congress, I will not join a party where there is no respect for me,” said Ms. Sumalatha.

She said the present political climate is such that people leave political parties or switch parties on being denied a ticket. But she was joining a political party though she was not given a ticket. ‘‘The BJP offered me Mysuru, Bengaluru North, Chickballapur but I decided not to leave Mandya at any cost and will stay here despite not contesting the elections this time,” Ms. Sumalatha added.

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