BENGALURU: There are no signs of the ongoing verbal duel between JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy and MP Sumalatha Ambareesh ending, with the latter on Friday accusing the former Chief Minister's party leaders in Mandya of benefiting from illegal mining in the district.
She also hit out at Kumaraswamy and his party colleagues for repeatedly bringing in her late husband and popular actor-turned-politician Ambareesh's name to attack her.
"Politicians won't do (illegal activities) directly with their name, they do with benamis, but it is an open secret...If you (JDS leaders) are not involved in it, why are you reacting? Looking at your strong reaction, it looks like you are benefiting from the illegal mining," Sumalatha said.
Speaking to reporters here, she said barricades were erected at all access roads leading to sites where illegal mining was on in order to stop her from inspecting them, during her recent visit.
"I will seek time and meet the Chief Minister and Mines Minister on the illegal mining issue," the independent MP from Mandya added.
The verbal spat had begun on July 5 when Kumaraswamy made personal attacks against Sumalatha over the issue of leasing out MySugar factory in Mandya to private industries and illegal mining near KRS dam, which elicited a sharp reaction from the actress-turned politician.
Responding to allegations by Srirangapatna JD(S) MLA Ravindra Srikantaiah that illegal mining in Mandya started during late Ambareesh's tenure as MP and legislator from the district,she said it was nothing but loose talk and challenged him to place the evidence and records for the same.
Taking strong exception to linking her late husband's name to illegal things, Sumalatha demanded to know why the MLA was silent all this while.
"People of Mandya and Ambareesh's fans will respond to it in the days to come."
Kumaraswamy, who calls Ambareesh a "friend" in front of everyone, is making his Srirangapatna MLA say such statements, she added.
Accusing JD(S) and its leaders of corruption in Mandya at all stages, the MP said they have started targeting her as she was trying to raise her voice against their 'misdeeds' and trying to uncover it.
She alleged that her phone too was tapped during the Kumaraswamy regime, which is being investigated by the CBI.
During the 2019 Lok Sabha election campaign,several JD(S) leaders had indulged in personal attacks against Sumalatha.
Nikhil, the son of then Chief Minister Kumaraswamy, was defeated by Sumalatha, an independent candidate, by 1,25,876 votes in the 2019 polls to Mandya Lok Sabha constituency, which had seen a bitterly contested campaign.
Rejecting Kumaraswamy's claim that it was he as the CM who ensured memorial and respectful last rites to the late Ambareesh,Sumalatha said "people who don't have the dignity to take Ambareesh's name are talking about him left, right and centre. Don't you have any achievement to speak about?...why are you still taking Ambareesh's name? It has been two years since he died."
Noting that it was not Kumaraswamy who ensured a memorial for Ambareesh, she said it is the current Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa who approved it.
"When senior actors of the film industry Doddanna and Shivaram had gone to meet him (Kumaraswamy as CM), let him remember his behaviour when he threw the petition at them and the words he used against against Ambareesh.
It was in January or February 2019 even before I had decided to contest the Lok Sabha polls," she said, adding that Doddanna had even shed tears.
Sumalatha's son Abhishek Ambareesh, their family friend and film producer Rockline Venkatesh and Doddanna also attacked Kumaraswamy for his recent comments against her that she did not want Ambareesh's body to be taken to his bastion of Mandya for the people there to pay their last respects.
Ambareesh, known as "Rebel Star, had died of cardiac arrest on November 24, 2018 when Kumaraswamy was the CM of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government.
His mortal remains were taken to Mandya from Bengaluru by chopper and brought back for last rites to be performed here.