‘Husband died and she has political ambitions’: HD Revanna’s sexist remark on Sumalatha

Sumalatha will be contesting as an independent from Mandya. She earlier sought a ticket from the Congress-JD(S) alliance to contest from the constituency.
‘Husband died and she has political ambitions’: HD Revanna’s sexist remark on Sumalatha
‘Husband died and she has political ambitions’: HD Revanna’s sexist remark on Sumalatha
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Karnataka Energy Minister HD Revanna’s crass remark about actor Sumalatha -- the wife of late Congress MP and actor Ambareesh -- questioning her foray into politics just months after her husband's demise, is yet another example of how women in politics are treated by their male counterparts. Speaking to reporters in New Delhi, HD Revanna, who is also Chief Minister Kumaraswamy's older brother, said, “It’s not even been a month since her husband died and instead of grieving, she is already displaying political ambitions and is saying she wants to contest elections. See what level they have stooped to.”

Sumalatha is going to be contesting as an independent candidate in the upcoming 2019 general elections from the Mandya Lok Sabha segment. Her husband Ambareesh was a legendary actor and a Congressman. After he passed away on November 24, 2018, there has been much pressure on Sumalatha to contest elections. Earlier, she approached the Congress and sought a ticket from the Congress-JD(S) alliance to contest from Mandya. This put the Congress in a spot as the pre-poll alliance with JD(S) ensured that a JD(S) candidate would contest from Mandya, and not a Congress one.

Revanna added that the Mandya seat was for a JD(S) candidate and in order to fight Sumalatha, the JD(S) had no choice but pick Nikhil Gowda (CM Kumaraswamy's son) to contest from Mandya as Sumalatha was adamant that she would not contest from any other segment. “We were planning on fielding one of our workers from Mandya but she said she will contest only from Mandya. So, we changed our plan and decided to bring in Nikhil,” Revanna added.

Although she was offered the Mysuru-Kodagu constituency by the JD(S), Sumalatha decided to contest the election as an independent candidate from Mandya. According to JD(S) sources, Kumaraswamy did not want Sumalatha to contest from Mandya because she may actually defeat his son.

Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, who tried to control the damage Revanna’s words had caused, said that such comments were not to be made.

“No one should make such comments about another person. Please leave all the issues regarding Mandya to me. Do not pay attention to Revanna,” CM Kumaraswamy told reporters on Friday.

Despite Kumaraswamy’s statement, Revanna refused to apologise and went on to make another distasteful statement about Sumalatha.

“I have seen so many such dramas. Sumalatha used to act in films and she is now doing the same in politics. Why should I apologise? When Ambareesh died, Kumaraswamy was at the hospital till 4 am. Who would have questioned him if he had gone home after making a quick visit to the hospital? Who is running the ‘Go back Kumaraswamy, Go back Nikhil’ campaign in Mandya? I know who is behind this. I will disclose their names at an appropriate time,” Revanna said.

Sumalatha, who was campaigning in Mandya on Friday, said that no one could bring down her confidence and that she is not going to pay attention to Revanna’s remarks.

“They cannot crush my self-confidence with such statements. It’s better not to react. Ambareesh conducted himself in a dignified manner (politically) in his life and I am following in his footsteps. They want me to react to their provocative comments, but I will not react,” Sumalatha told the media.

This is not the first time Sumalatha has been attacked by members of the JD(S). In February, Kumaraswamy had questioned Ambareesh’s contribution to Mandya during the time he was an MLA, as well as when he was an MP. Transport Minister DC Thammanna, who is also from the JD(S), had stated that Sumalatha did not know how to be hospitable. “She did not offer even a glass of water or tea to people when they visited their house when Ambareesh was alive. Do not believe film actors,” DC Thammanna had told the media in February.

Revanna’s remarks became fodder for the BJP, with Udupi-Chikkamagaluru MP Shobha Karandlaje demanding that Revanna apologise.

“There is no law in this country that women should not contest elections if their husbands die. There is no law which specifies how long a woman must wait to contest elections after her husband dies. I do not know the context of his (Revanna’s statement) but speaking about a woman in such a distasteful manner is not right. He must apologise,” Shobha Karandlaje said.

JD(S) insiders say that Revanna’s statement comes in the backdrop of his long-standing feud with his brother Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy. Whilst Revanna’s son Prajwal worked for the party in Hassan for eight years before being offered a ticket to contest elections, Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil Gowda, who has no experience in politics, has also been offered a ticket to contest the polls.


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