Thousands of supporters including local Congress workers gathered outside the Deputy Commissioner's office in Mandya in a show of strength for Sumalatha.

Amidst massive fanfare and support Sumalatha files nomination from Mandya LS seat
news Lok Sabha 2019 Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 13:17

Thousands of people gathered outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Karnataka’s Mandya as Sumalatha Ambareesh filed her nomination on Wednesday for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. Sumalatha, an actor and wife of Sandalwood star and former three-time Congress MLA and one-time MP Ambareesh, is contesting as independent candidate. She is up against Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil Gowda in Mandya, who is the candidate for the JD(S)—Congress alliance.

This, however, did not stop Congress leaders from Mandya and several party workers, who waived the Congress flag and shouted “Sumalatha Jai” as she drove in to file her nomination papers. Fans of the late Ambareesh, Congress party workers, several leaders from the Dalit, Adivasi and minority communities as well as members of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha had gathered outside the DC’s office when Sumalatha filed her nomination.

The song Mandyada Gandu, one of the most popular ones from Ambareesh’s film, was blaring loudly on the speakers as Sumalatha walked in to file her nomination.  Sumalatha had visited the Chamundi Temple in Mysuru before arriving in Mandya to file the nomination papers. Speaking to the media, Sumalatha said, “Whenever Ambareesh would come to file his nomination, I would be there with him. Today, when I am filing my nomination, he is with me.”

Fans of Ambareesh began a bike rally from the Deputy Commissioner’s office and made their way to Silver Jubilee Park in Mandya, where she was slated to address a gathering.  After filing her nomination, Sumalatha began her road show, with actors Yash and Darshan flanking her on either side. “Dheera! Dheera! (brave one)” and “Sumalatha Jai” were being yelled as Sumalatha’s rally vehicle made its way to the Silver Jubilee Park. Supporters held placards of Sumalatha along with those of Ambareesh, actors Yash and Darshan as the rally began.

The mood was jubilant and the rally was a show of strength as Sumalatha is contesting as an independent, who is up against the might of the Deve Gowda family in their bastion – Mandya.

Sources in JD(S) say that the party has deployed its party workers to keep an eye on rebel Congress leaders and party workers who are supporting Sumalatha and push for action against them.

“We want the Congress to take action against them as they are going against the coalition,” a JD(S) leader said.

Congress insiders also say that the support for Sumalatha has come as a shocker to many in the JD(S) and the party now has cause for concern in the region. “During the Assembly elections, Ambareesh was not happy about the way Congress leaders treated him. He was snubbed by Siddaramaiah. He had helped the JD(S) indirectly, which is why the party won all eight Assembly segments. What we did not expect was the leaders of several Dalit, Adivasi and Minority groups to rally behind her. She is going behind the Ahinda (a Kannada acronym for minorities, OBCs and Dalits) votes. This will mean that the JD(S) vote bank has been broken and the fight will be tough,” a Congress leader said.

Soon after Sumalatha began her roadshow, JD(S) MLA from KR Pete Narayana Gowda warned Sandalwood actors who were supporting Sumalatha. Speaking to party workers on Wednesday, Narayana Gowda said, “It’s because of the people who buy movie tickets that the cinema industry is flourishing. Those in the film industry must respect the people. If they continue to go against us (referring to JD(S)), we will begin an investigation into how they earned so much money. We are running the government, so stay at home respectfully.”

Narayana Gowda’s statement comes in the wake of the Sandalwood film fraternity offering its support to Sumalatha. Actors Yash and Darshan have announced that they will actively campaign for her. Actors Sudeep and Puneet Rajukumar have also expressed solidarity with Sumalatha. 

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