Sumalatha counting on votes from women, farmers to win Mandya LS seat

Sumalatha Ambareesh an actor turned politician to contest elections from MP's Mandya constituency on April 8. She says that she hope from the women and farmers to vote for her to the Parliament.

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Sumalatha Ambareesh, File Photo

Actor-turned-politician Sumalatha Ambareesh, who made her electoral debut from Mandya Lok Sabha seat on April 18, says she is hoping that votes from women and farmers will propel her to Parliament.

Wife of late Kannada superstar and Congress MP Ambareesh, Sumalatha contested as an Independent after the party denied her a ticket from the constituency.

The seat went to Congress's coalition partner Janata Dal (Secular).

She had locked horns with senior JD(S) leader and Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy's son Nikhil, also a debutante.

"As much as 80 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the Mandya parliamentary constituency.

This is also the highest voter turnout in this Lok Sabha election in Karnataka," Sumalatha said.

"Out of this, a large chunk of women and farmers have exercised their franchise.

As many as 6.5 lakh women have voted.

This, I think, will work in my favour," she told PTI in an interview.

Both farmers and women are angry with the Kumaraswamy-led coalition government for not delivering on its farm loan waiver and 'Stree Shakti Loan' promises, Sumalatha claimed.

She also hopes to gain from people's anger over "negative campaigning" by the JD(S) against her.

"During my campaigns, I closely sensed that people were angry with the bitter, negative campaigning done against me by the JD(S), which was not required against a woman candidate," she said.

"I also sensed people's aversion to caste-based politics.

These factors would also work in my favour," she added.

Sumalatha said the discord between JD(S) and Congress workers in Mandya would play a huge role in Nikhil's defeat.

"In Mandya, there was no coalition at all," she said.

The Mandya Congress workers hated it when they were asked to work for the JD(S) candidate because they were totally ignored by the coalition partner since the day the government was formed in Karnataka, she claimed.

Sumalatha said Nikhil is an "outsider" for voters in Mandya.

She said during campaigning, people told her that they will make sure that she wins.

She added that the dynastic politics of JD(S) would also work against the party.

"First it was the father and sons. Then we saw their wives contesting elections. Now, the grandsons (are contesting). This has angered the people and also JD(S) leaders, who feel there is hardly any scope for them to grow in the party," she said.

Asked if she would join the BJP if Narendra Modi returns to power at the Centre, Sumalatha said, "As far as my knowledge goes, there is a rule that prohibits an independent candidate from joining any party.

Whichever party comes to power, I have to work with them to get grants and benefits." Ahead of the polling in Mandya, the BJP decided not to field a candidate from the seat and declared that it would support Sumalatha.

Asked if her victory would mean the end of domination of JD(S) patriarch H D Deve Gowda's family among the Vokkaligas in the Old Mysuru belt, she said she is not an expert on caste arithmetic, but is against voting on this basis.

"The voting should take place on the basis of merits of the candidate and his capabilities to do good for the people and not on caste basis. Even Ambareesh was against it," she said. 

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