Lok Sabha polls: Uncertainty in Mandya with Sumalatha’s name in the mix



With the Lok Sabha elections just months away, there is uncertainty over who will contest from Mandya constituency, which is currently represented by L.R. Shivarame Gowda of the JD(S). The possibility of Sumalatha, wife of the late former Minister Ambareesh, throwing her hat into the ring has left the situation very fluid.

Actor-turned-politician Ambareesh was referred to as “Mandyada gandu”. Though he was with the Congress when he passed away, his relationship with the party had been somewhat strained. He was elected to the Lok Sabha as well as to the Legislative Assembly from Mandya constituency. He was also Union Minister in the Manmohan Singh government.

As his fans are now demanding that Ms. Sumalatha be fielded from Mandya constituency in order to regain the party’s base there, a section of Congress leaders has been putting pressure on senior State leaders to make this a reality.

The Congress dominated politics in Mandya during the time of former Chief Minister S.M. Krishna, who was elected from Maddur constituency. In subsequent elections, the party lost seats in the district to its traditional rival, the JD(S). Out of seven seats, the Congress won five in the 1999 elections; it bagged just two in 2014. In 2018, the party drew a blank, with the JD(S) winning all seven seats.

However, the JD(S) has been in no mood to leave the constituency to the Congress. In the 2018 byelections, the Congress supported the JD(S), and the latter won the seat. Though Mr. Shivarame Gowda is the incumbent MP, the JD(S) may even propose to field Nikhil Gowda, actor and son of Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy.

Sources in the Congress said leaders who quit the JD(S) and joined the Congress on the eve of the last Assembly elections have been making efforts to get ticket for Ms. Sumalatha in order to “checkmate the JD(S)”. There is buzz that they are even toying with the idea of supporting her if she chooses to contest independently. However, Ms. Sumalatha has been keeping people guessing about her own plans.

Coalition coordination committee chairman Siddaramaiah on Saturday said no decision has been taken on fielding Ms. Sumalatha from Mandya. Speaking to reporters at Mangaluru International Airport, he said Congress and JD(S) leaders have not sat together to finalise who will take which constituency.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 5:52:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/lok-sabha-polls-uncertainty-in-mandya-with-sumalathas-name-in-the-mix/article26164557.ece

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