Disgruntled Congress party workers from all eight assembly segments of Mandya openly supported Sumalatha.

She is the daughter of Mandya Ending speculation Cong workers back Sumalatha
news Lok Sabha 2019 Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 16:31

Thousands of supporters had gathered at the Silver Jubilee Grounds in Karnataka’s Mandya on Wednesday as Sumalatha Ambareesh was all set to kick start her election campaign. Amidst such bountiful support, a stark and shocking shift was witnessed in Mandya’s political scenario. Congress party workers, including local Mandya district Congress strongmen Sachidananda Induvala and Ananth Kumar, took part in independent candidate Sumalatha’s the rally and addressed the gathering at Silver Jubilee Grounds.

“I applaud all the self-respecting Congress party workers, who are here today,” Sachidananda said as he began his speech,”When Ambareesh had passed away, all the Congress party workers from the eight assembly segments in Mandya, and Ambareesh’s fans, had gone to meet Sumalatha and her son Abhishek. We asked her not to leave us in lurch.”

Over a month ago, Sumalatha – wife of late legendary actor and three-time Congress MLA Ambareesh – had announced her aspiration to contest the election. And soon, she decided to tour Mandya and hold public consultations before making her decision. Sumalatha had also approached the Congress party, which her late husband was a part of. To her dismay, the Congress refused her a ticket as the party was bound to support the JD(S) due to the pre-poll alliance. The coalition is currently fielding Nikhil Gowda, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s, son as the candidate from Mandya.

“So many people made distasteful comments against Suma akka,” Sachidananda said, “They said she was inhospitable, that she has political ambitions despite the fact that her husband died. ‘So what if she has the film industry, we will bring in more people,’ the opposition said. But she did not let the vitriol stop her. Because of the love she has shown us, all the self-respecting Congress leaders and fans of Ambareesh have come here willingly to support her.”

Sachidananda said that the Congress party offered Sumalatha many alternatives. He claimed that the party had offered her a ticket to contest either in Bengaluru South or in Mysuru. When Sumalatha rejected these offers, she was allegedly offered an MLC post and was also promised a ministerial berth.

“She did not give into greed and decided to contest from Mandya. Ambareesh resigned from his post as Union Minister for the cause of Mandya’s farmers. Today, Suma akka is a representative for everyone in Mandya, especially the women of this area. She is the daughter of Mandya. If we have to ensure that there is adequate representation for women and people of Mandya in Delhi, we must elect her,” he added.

Although Sachidananda may be an ordinary member of the party and a local leader, whose influence does not stretch beyond a few taluks in Mandya, what is of significance is that the speculation regarding Congress party workers being disgruntled came to an end on Wednesday. By openly supporting Sumalatha, the rebel Congress party workers have made it clear that supporting a JD(S) candidate would mean the demise of the Congress party in the region.

The rivalry between Congress and JD(S) is a historical one. For over two decades, the politics in Mandya has always surrounded Congress-JD(S) rivalry. Several villages in Mandya identify themselves as supporters of either Congress or JD(S). In such a backdrop, Congress and JD(S) forged an alliance ahead of the Lok Sabha elections and JD(S) was given a ticket to contest the polls from Mandya.

All of a sudden, party workers of Congress and JD(S) were forced to unite. With decades of bitterness brewing between the two parties, Congress workers felt abandoned. Soon after Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil Gowda was announced as the candidate from Mandya, Congress party workers began rebelling against the party’s decision. The disgruntled workers from all the eight Assembly segments have now come together to openly support Sumalatha, and Sachidananda’s statement could be seen as a reflection of the same. With the leaders unable to motivate their own party workers, the question is, will the pre-poll alliance cause untold damage to both Congress and JD(S)?

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