Incumbent Mandya MLA and popular Sandalwood actor Ambareesh, in a telephonic conversation on Sunday night with Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President Dr G Parameshwara, is said to have expressed that he does not wish to contest in the upcoming polls.
“Ambareesh thanked Parameshwara for offering him a ticket, but said he has no desire to contest the polls. Ambareesh cited his ill health and also suggested that his associate, Amaravathi Chandrashekar, be offered the ticket instead,” a Congress source said.
Ambareesh is also said to have agreed to campaign on behalf of Chandrashekar. Congress insiders said that a meeting of senior Congress leaders will take place at 3 pm on Monday, after which a final decision would be taken on the Mandya candidate.
On Sunday night, Amaravathi Chandrashekar told the media that he was ready to contest if the party offered him a ticket.
Although Ambareesh had been given the ticket to contest from Mandya, he had remained elusive to the party leaders and had not yet collected his B-form to file his nomination.
A senior Congress leader told TNM that while the party offered Ambareesh a ticket due to his seniority, he has not given any indication of whether or not he would like to contest. It has also predicted that Ambareesh would mostly lose, the Congress leader added.
On Saturday, when CM Siddaramaiah was asked at a press conference if Ambareesh was contesting, he said he had no idea. When asked whether he would try to convince Ambareesh, the CM said, “I will not try to convince Ambareesh as it is his decision to contest or not.”
On Sunday morning, Ambareesh skipped a meeting that was scheduled to be held with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah at his residence in Mysuru. Sources in the Congress said that the CM waited for Ambareesh for half an hour. However, the MLA was already en route Bengaluru.
Congress sources also said that Ambareesh had demanded that the party offer him the post of Mandya Minister in-charge if he has to contest.
“If the party came to power, then he wanted to control Mandya district. Considering his track record of being absent for most of his tenure as an MLA, the people are disappointed in him which is why the party was not willing to take the risk,” the source said.