Actor Sumalatha Ambareesh, an Independent candidate backed by the BJP, registered a victory by trouncing K. Nikhil, Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy’s son in the keenly fought parliamentary elections from Mandya.
She won by a margin of over 1.25 lakh votes.
The loss is an embarrassment to the JD(S) as the district had eight JD(S) MLAs, two MLCs and three Ministers, with the incumbent MP also from the party. Moreover, Mr. Kumaraswamy had camped here for weeks campaigning for his son in a high-pitched ‘David vs Goliath’ battle.
Ms. Sumalatha was ably aided by Kannada actors Yash and Darshan.
The seat also became a bone of contention between the coalition partners as several Congress leaders were seen openly backing the candidature of Sumalatha. It is speculated that the loss will mar relations between the coalition partners.
However, what seems to have helped Sumalatha is a wave in her favour, in a constituency known to swing elections based on emotions. There was an undercurrent of anger against the candidacy of Mr. Nikhil, third-generation leader from the Deve Gowda family.
Add to this the contrast in the campaigning by the two camps.
While the JD(S) made disparaging remarks against Ms. Sumalatha and Mr. Kumaraswamy tried to gain political mileage by harping on bringing the mortal remains of Ambareesh to Mandya, Ms. Sumalatha’s electioneering was marked by decency and refusal to be provoked into a slugfest.
The district administration’s alleged favouritism towards Mr. Nikhil, the JD(S) party’s alleged unethical practice of fielding three women by the name of ‘Sumalatha’ to mislead voters, were some of the other key factors that created an anti-JD(S) wave in the constituency.