The Mandya Lok Sabha constituency in Karnataka has captured the nation’s imagination ever since yesteryear movie actress Sumalatha entered the poll fray as an Independent candidate. Today, she should be credited for a unique accomplishment of bringing arch rivals the BJP and the Congress together to back her in a prestigious fight against the son of current chief minister HD Kumaraswamy.
The Mandya seat is currently held by JDS, the chief minister’s party. JDS candidate LR Shivarame Gowda won the seat by a margin of over 300,000 votes in a by-poll just in November 2018. And the party won six of seven assembly constituencies in the district in May 2018 elections to the state legislature.
These facts should make Mandya parliamentary constituency a JDS bastion. And expectedly, the party has been allotted the seat in the deal struck by the Congress-JDS alliance. No surprise that chief minister Kumaraswamy found no better place than Mandya constituency for his son Nikhil Kumaraswamy’s political debut.
Sumalatha on the other hand had expressed her resolve to contest from the seat even before Congress-JDS alliance finalised their seat sharing formula for the April-May general elections. She was not perturbed when the seat went to the JDS. She went ahead and filed her nomination to contest as Independent.
Now it is clear that she is strongly backed by a majority of Congress rank and file from the constituency, some overtly and others covertly. Two of the biggest stars in Kananda film industry, Yash and Darshan, have also pledged their full support to actor-turned politician.
She got a cherry on top when the BJP decided not to field its candidate against her. BJP state president BS Yeddyurappa has openly offered her an unconditional support.
Now, the JDS stronghold seems to be falling like nine pins. At the same time Sumalatha is emerging as a no nonsensical candidate with her measured talks and dignified conduct, refusing to get into the whirlpool of abusive politics.
One has to wait and watch if both the Congress and the BJP are set to woo her into their respective folds post poll results. Mandya is going to vote on April 18 and the results will be out on May 23.