Mandya is the constituency where JD(S) chief Deve Gowda’s grandson, Nikhil Gowda, is making his political debut.

1 constituency 3 Sumalathas Did JDS get namesakes to file nominations in Mandya
news Lok Sabha 2019 Wednesday, March 27, 2019 - 16:12

On Tuesday, the last day for filing nominations for the Mandya segment, three women filed to contest as independents. The catch – all three of them are named Sumalatha. Sumalatha from Krishnarajpete, Sumalatha P from Kanakapura, and M Sumalatha from Srirangapattana, are hoping to contest from the constituency where a star candidate – Sumalatha Ambareesh – is hoping to win as an independent, with the backing of Congress and BJP cadre.

Mandya is the constituency where JD(S) chief Deve Gowda’s grandson, Nikhil Gowda, is making his political debut. And Sumalatha Ambareesh believes that three more Sumalathas filing their nominations at the last minute is nothing but a political ploy by her rivals. “This was a very cunning move. They [JD(S)] think that by doing this, they will win. I have learnt that one of the [other Sumalathas] has withdrawn her nomination already,” she added.

Sources in the JD(S) say that a few leaders in the party had instructed the cadre in the region to find women named Sumalatha and ensure that they filed nominations on the last day.

While fielding independents bearing the same name as rivals is not a new move in Indian politics, the fact that Sumalatha Ambareesh is fighting as an independent without a well known symbol might come as a drawback for her.

“Sumalatha is contesting as an independent and she does not have a symbol which people can identify with. If there are more Sumalathas, then it will confuse the voters. This kind of tactic is not uncommon in politics, especially when the fight is tough,” the JD(S) source added.

Sumalatha Ambareesh, wife of former Congress MLA and legendary actor Ambareesh has a huge following in Mandya. She decided to contest as an independent as the Congress party refused to offer here a ticket due to the pre-poll alliance with the JD(S).

Banking on the sympathy factor after the demise of her husband Ambareesh in November 2018, Sumalatha has also amassed support from rebel Congress leaders and party workers. The BJP, too, has not nominated any candidate and has decided to back Sumalatha in the region instead. With support coming in from various groups, the JD(S) is now in a tricky spot, especially since Sumalatha is up against Deve Gowda’s grandson Nikhil Gowda.  

“If Nikhil Gowda loses in Mandya, it would mean that the JD(S) will not have any presence in the region. Mandya is a JD(S) fortress. Kumaraswamy will pull out all the stops to ensure that his son wins,” the JD(S) source said.



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