Mandya/ Mysuru: Sumalatha Ambarish, wife of late actor-politician M.H. Ambarish made her intentions clear yesterday when she said, “I will contest from Mandya. I will not go back on my word or rethink,” she said.
Speaking to press persons at Cauvery Vana in Mandya, Sumalatha said there was no question of going back on contesting the forthcoming Lok Sabha (LS) elections. Appealing the people not to take rumours seriously, she said that Congressmen from across Mandya district are pressurising her to contest the polls from Mandya LS seat.
Her only confusion was whether she would contest independently or on a Congress ticket, and this would become clear before Mar. 18, she said. A few people are using social media to mislead voters, Sumalatha added. She said that she believes in the faith and emotional attachment of the people and the blessings of Ambarish, and no one can stop her from contesting.
Sumalatha, who has been touring the district for the past two weeks to enhance her support base and to garner support of Congress leaders, met Congress leader Dr. H.N. Ravindra and his supporters near the statue of Sir M. Visvesvaraya (Cauvery Vana) off Bengaluru–Mysuru Highway.
Dr. Ravindra, former President of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) who had unsuccessfully contested election to the Legislative Council from South Graduates’ Constituency as the Congress nominee in 2016, has been on a fast along with some like-minded party workers from Sunday, opposing the candidature of Nikhil Kumaraswamy, son of Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy in Mandya.
The actor interacted with Dr. Ravindra and sought his support to emerge victorious in the election. He ended his fast after the interaction. “Neither I am worried about charges against me nor will I react,” she told reporters. Sumalatha is visiting temples whichever village she visits. So far, she visited around 15 temples and has toured all eight taluks, including K.R. Nagar.
Meanwhile, ‘Sumalatha for Self-Respect’ (Swabhimanakkaagi Sumalatha) is the slogan that is gripping Mandya these days. The affection for Ambarish, entry of ‘outsider’ Nikhil Kumaraswamy as the Congress-JD(S) consensus candidate, Sumalatha’s image as an educated and dignified ‘daughter-in-law’ of Mandya is working in favour of Sumalatha. Adding to this are the personal remarks made against her by JD(S) leaders that are forcing people to rally around Sumalatha.
Although the Congress has announced that the Mandya seat will be given to JD(S), party workers continued to express solidarity with Sumalatha.
While Block Congress leaders in Nagamangala and Srirangapatna have put up flex boards with messages wishing her good luck, some party workers accompanied her when she met Dr. Ravindra.
“We coined ‘Swabhimanakkaagi Sumalatha’ to protect the dignity of Sumalatha. We want her as our MP now as we want Ambarish’s legacy to continue with her,” said a Congress worker indicating that the slogan reflects the common sentiment reflected by voters across Mandya.
Against Cong. leadership
Prasanna, Nagamangala Block chief and follower of former Minister N. Cheluvarayaswamy told reporters yesterday that if they obeyed the directions of the Congress high command and support Nikhil, then their own party workers will criticise them. “If we campaign for Nikhil and seek votes for the JD(S), then Congress workers and Ambarish fans will beat us up,” he said.
Other local Congress leaders have virtually upped the ante against the Congress leadership as they are openly declaring support for Sumalatha.
Congress leaders are particularly upset with senior Congress Minister D.K. Shivakumar, who held discussions with them in a bid to quell rebellion and get the local unit to support Nikhil.
Opens Facebook page
Sumalatha Ambarish has opened an official Facebook page in her name. The page is aimed at seeking support for her in the run up to the LS polls. Sumalatha had opened a Twitter account earlier and was active on Twitter, maintaining contacts with the people of Mandya.