MYSURU: Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy may be a part of the mahagathbandhan at the national level, but in the Mandya Lok Sabha seat, he and son Nikhil, the JD(S) candidate, are up against a formidable ‘mahagathbandhan’ headed by veteran actress Sumalatha.This has thrown a challenge to the ruling JD(S), that has eight sitting legislators, an MLC and minister from Mandya.
Sumalatha’s calculated move to contest as an Independent, knitted the BJP, Raitha Sangha, local Congress leaders, Ahinda and women’s groups, besides Ambareesh’s fans across all parties. Sumalatha had come under fire from Kumaraswamy, who asked out to spell out her contribution to Mandya.
The veteran actress had knocked on the doors of the Congress for a party ticket, and moved around the district to feel the pulse of the people. She also made a statement on ending corrupt , caste and nepotism in politics, and announced that she would fight polls as an Independent candidate as she did not want to lose minority, Christian and Dalit votes, that comprise a large chunk after Vokkaligas, in Mandya constituency.
Despite the Congress giving up the seat to JD(S) in Mandya, she did not lose hope as she called on former Congress MLAs and other prominent leaders, sending a strong message that her first priority was to contest as a Congress candidate. When the Congress expelled two local leaders, she reached out to BJP.
She also called on farmer leader Puttannaiah’s family members and vowed to be the voice of the farmers in Parliament.
Sumalatha also picked a minority, a Dalit, Kuruba and member of the fisherfolk community to accompany her to file nominations, instead of taking celebrities or Vokkaliga leaders. This smart move opened the doors for Ahinda leaders.
Though Kumaraswamy managed to bring Irrigation Minister D K Shivakumar when son Nikhil filed his nomination papers, and took a dig at leading actors Darshan and Yash, calling them Jodeyathu (bull pair), she kept her cool and preferred her emotional connect with the people. Knowing that it would be difficult to take on the ruling alliance and its money and muscle power, Sumalatha reached out to core teams that would help counter the JD(S) strategy.