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‘Ask Anything But Mandya’: Sumalatha Reveals Congress-JDS’s Open Offer to Prevent Poll Fight

Actress Sumalatha Ambareesh described her decision to contest from the Mandya constituency as the biggest risk of her life.

Revathi Rajeevan | CNN-News18

Updated:March 18, 2019, 11:24 PM IST
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‘Ask Anything But Mandya’: Sumalatha Reveals Congress-JDS’s Open Offer to Prevent Poll Fight
File photo of Sumalatha Ambareesh.
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Bengaluru: Independent candidate and veteran actress Sumalatha Ambareesh will take on actor Nikhil Kumaraswamy, the Congress-JDS coalition candidate, in Mandya constituency on April 18.

As she announced her plans to contest in Bengaluru on Monday, stars from the film industry - Darshan and Yash - rallied behind her in what seems like a message sent to Nikhil that Sandalwood has made its choice.

Speaking to News18, she described her decision to contest from the seat as the biggest risk of her life. The coalition candidate she will be up against, Nikhil, is the son of chief minister HD Kumaraswamy and grandson of former Prime Minister Deve Gowda.

"It is definitely a huge challenge. It is a mammoth might that I am taking on. I know that pretty well," said Sumalatha, wife of late actor-politician MH Ambareesh, who was a three-time MP from Mandya.

All eight MLAs from the parliamentary constituency of Mandya belong to the JD(S), and hence, it went into the party’s kitty as it distributed seats with the Congress.

Sumalatha who was hoping to get a Congress ticket to contest from Mandya, did not hide her disappointment. "Considering it was a guaranteed, 100% seat, had the Congress contested, yes, I feel they should have fought for the seat," said Sumalatha.

The actor had met Congress leaders Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar ahead of the seat sharing discussions but was told that they are helpless.

"It is a question of letting down their own party workers. They are facing a crisis of existence. They feel like by giving the seat to JDS, the Congress cannot be revived for another 20 years. Not just in Mandya but in the whole of Mysore region. It has a huge impact in what's going to happen in the future. Next assembly elections at least," she added.

Sumalatha contesting as an independent against the coalition candidate is a cause of worry for the two parties as she is likely to cut into their votes. She says attempts were made to discourage her from contesting.

"A lot of attempts have been made by both parties. Both Congress and JDS leaders have tried to convince me to contest from other places. In fact there was an open offer very recently saying ‘ask us for anything but Mandya. And we will give it to you’. That was the offer. They said they will assure me a Rajya Sabha seat or an MLC seat with a ministry, Bangalore North, Bangalore South… we will do everything for you. You need not worry about anything. Things like these," she said.

Meanwhile, the BJP is looking at this as a chance to ensure the coalition's defeat. The party says it has held discussions with Sumalatha, and is likely to offer her their support. The party has not announced its candidate for Mandya yet.
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