‘I have people's support’: Sumalatha Ambareesh will contest as an independent

Sumalatha said she wanted to contest from the Congress but when she was denied a ticket, she chose to contest as an independent.
‘I have people's support’: Sumalatha Ambareesh will contest as an independent
‘I have people's support’: Sumalatha Ambareesh will contest as an independent
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After weeks of speculation regarding her candidature, former Congress leader Ambareesh’s wife and actor Sumalatha finally announced on Monday that she would contest the upcoming Lok Sabha election as an independent candidate.

Sumalatha, who was aspiring for a Congress ticket was denied one as the Congress-JD(S) alliance had allotted the ticket to a JD(S) candidate. With Chief Minister Kumaraswamy wanting his son Nikhil Gowda to contest from Mandya, Sumalatha was not chosen as the coalition’s candidate.

Despite the rejection, Sumalatha toured Mandya for three weeks and held several rounds of talks with residents and local leaders. Her popularity even had the BJP request her to join the party.

“The people of Mandya have assured me their support and local Congress party workers have also offered their support to me. Since I announced my candidature, I have been faced with a dilemma. There were two roads in front of me and I have decided to choose the difficult path. I am contesting as an independent candidate,” Sumalatha said addressing a press meet in Bengaluru.

Sumalatha also announced that she would file her nomination on March 20 at 10 am in Mandya.

At around 12 pm, Sumalatha arrived at the Raddison Blu hotel in Bengaluru with popular Sandalwood stars – Yash and Darshan- by her side.

“Four months ago, the very moment that I never wanted to see in my life, came looking for me (referring to Ambareesh’s death). I had no idea what I was supposed to do. I had my family and friends to support me but I was still grieving and somehow a little lost and I never believed I could recover. In such a dark period in my life, Ambareesh’s supporters were there for me. But they also wanted me to continue Ambareesh’s legacy and support them in return,” Sumalatha said as she began her heartfelt speech.

Sumalatha also clarified that her meeting with BJP leader SM Krishna had nothing to do with her joining any political party but it was just to seek his blessings. Sumalatha also said that she was confident of obtaining support from workers cutting across party lines.

“The only party I wanted a ticket to contest from was the Congress party and I had also approached Siddaramaiah. This was because Ambareesh was also a part of the Congress. They replied saying that they could not offer me a ticket since they cannot field a candidate from Mandya as it was to be given to the coalition partner JD(S). I expected the Congress to put up a fight. Not for me but for the party workers. There are thousands of party workers in Mandya today who are facing an identity crisis. They also want me to contest. They seem to believe that with this decision, the Congress will never ever come back to power in Mandya and they have sought my help,” she added.

When asked whether she was confident of taking on Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy's son, Sumalatha said that she had the support of various groups cutting across party lines in Mandya.

"The people of Mandya came to me and asked me to contest. I have the people's support and I also have the support of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (a leading farmer’s organisation). I am confident that the people will support me," Sumalatha added.  

Sandalwood star Yash and Darshan, who have a huge fan following in Mandya also stated that they would support Sumalatha and also actively campaign for her in the days to come.  

“Ambareesh and Sumalatha have always treated me like a family member and she always said that I was like her son. I believe that she has the acumen, the courage, poise and knowledge one needs to take such a huge step and come out victorious. I will campaign for her actively and I want to tell my fans one thing – if you trust me, then support Sumalatha,” Yash said.

Sandalwood actor Darshan, who has been close to Ambareesh’s family added that he had worked for three legislative assembly elections and one Parliamentary election for Ambareesh and ensured his victory in the past and he was determined to work for Sumalatha.

“Ambareesh always said I am his first son. When Amma (Sumalatha) decided to contest, I told her that I would work for her. I have done this for Ambareesh and I will do it again for her too,” Darshan said.

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