As the battle in Mandya heats up for the Lok Sabha polls, a Karnataka BJP MLA has written to the Union Home Minister seeking protection for actor-politician Sumalatha and actors Darshan and Yash.
In a letter addressed to Rajnath Singh dated March 24, Mahadevapura MLA Arvind Limbavali said, “I hereby request you to kindly provide Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) protection to Smt Sumalatha Ambareesh, independent candidate in Mandya Lok Sabha constituency, Karnataka, and leading Kannada actors Shri Darshan and Shri Yash, at the earliest in the wake of increasing violent actions by her opponents, particularly from workers and supporters of the political parties: JD(S) and Congress.”
Sumalatha, the wife of former actor-politician ‘Rebel Star’ Ambareesh who passed away recently, is an independent candidate from Mandya. The BJP is supporting her in a bid to defeat CM HD Kumaraswamy’s son and budding actor Nikhil Gowda in a constituency that is considered to be a JD(S) bastion.
Darshan and Yash, popular Kannada actors, had also received threats allegedly at the behest of Mandya JD(S) MLA Narayana Gowda for supporting Sumalatha’s candidature. There were also reports of Darshan’s residence being attacked by supporters of the Congress and JD(S) who were against Sumalatha.
With JD(S) allotted the Mandya seat as per the seat-sharing pact with the Congress, Sumalatha was denied a Congress ticket but she stuck to her choice with the confidence and support of Ambareesh’s fans.
Incidentally, MLA Narayana Gowda has been booked by the KR Pete Circle police station on March 21.
In his letter, Limbavali added, “On the day of Smt Sumalatha’s nomination, all the cable networks were cut off by the JD(S) and Congress goons. JD(S) and Congress leaders are abusing Smt Sumalatha Ambareesh, Shri Darshan and Shri Yash in public meetings and also instigating their workers through social media platforms against these three personalities.”
Limbavali pointed out that Sumalatha, who also has the support of many grassroots Congress workers, had complained to the Election Commission on Monday that the CM Kumaraswamy’s government was abusing the official machinery to tap her phone and spy on her.
“She said that there were instances of a few men trying to gather information from her security guards and attempting to take photographs of those visiting the house. I had even asked a couple of them what were they doing outside my house, but was unable to get information,” Limbavali wrote in his letter.
There were counter-allegations of violence too by the JD(S). Reportedly, during an election campaign in the same week in Bookanakere, a few members of the village had reportedly pelted stones at Nikhil Gowda’s car. They also shouted “Go back, Nikhil” slogans.
It is important to note that Bookanakere is the birthplace of BJP state president BS Yeddyurappa and the support for Sumalatha in the village seems to indicate that the tide is changing.