Vastavam web: Independent candidate and multi lingual actress Sumalatha received a big boost Saturday with the BJP deciding to support her in Mandya to take on Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamys son Nikhil in the Lok Sabha polls. Sumalatha, widow of actor-turned-politician M H Ambareesh, decided to contest as an independent after being denied a ticket by the Congress, which is now facing trouble in the district over conceding the seat to it’s ruling coalition partner JD(S).
BJP’s Central Election Committee Secretary Jagat Prakash Nadda announced the partys decision to support Sumalatha, as he read out the list of candidates for various Lok Sabha seats across the country in Delhi. With Congress ruling out fielding Sumalatha for Mandya, saying it would go to JD(S), clamour had grown within BJP to induct her and field her as the candidate, as a section believed it would help the saffron party, which doesn’t have much presence in the Vokkaliga bastion.
Both parties forged an alliance to form the government after the 2018 assembly poll results and are fighting the Lok Sabah polls together, according to the coalition arrangement. Sumalatha’s late husband Ambareesh had contested and won from Mandya in the past and enjoys popularity among the masses there. She had filed her nomination as an independent on Wednesday and enjoys the support of many within the Kannada film industry, with film stars Darshan and Yash among others by her side during campaigning.
Sumalatha had also sought the support of senior BJP leader and former Karnataka Chief Minster S M Krishna, a prominent Vokkaliga leader from Mandya. Despite losing Mandya Lok Sabha seat in the bypolls in November 2018, BJP had made significant inroads, with party candidate Siddaramaiah, a political greenhorn and former civil servant securing 2,44,404 votes, its best performance there.
With the announcement for two seats on Saturday, BJP has so far announced candidates for 23 (including Mandya) out of total of 28 Lok Sabha seats in the state. The first list of 21 candidates was announced on Thursday. The five seats for which the party is yet announce its candidates are Koppal, Raichur, Bangalore South, Bangalore Rural and Chikkodi. Congress and JD(S) that have decided to fight the polls in alliance will contest for 20 and eight seats respectively and are yet to formally announce their list of candidates.